2005 Symons Medal Lecture
The Honourable Jean Charest, Premier of Quebec
Confederation Centre of the Arts was pleased to award the inaugural Symons Medal to The Honourable Jean Charest, Premier of Quebec.
The Symons Medal is one of Canada’s most prestigious honours and recognizes a distinguished individual who has made an exceptional contribution to Canadian life.
With a public service career spanning almost 30 years, Jean Charest is one of Canada’s best known political figures. Mr. Charest was first elected to the House of Commons in 1984 and, at age 28, became Canada’s youngest cabinet minister as Minister of State for Youth.
In 1991, he was named Minister of the Environment and, a year later, he led Canada’s delegation at the 1992 Earth Summit on the economy and the environment in Rio. At the summit he was praised for his leadership role among G7 countries on climate change and biodiversity.
In 1993, Mr. Charest was named Minister of Industry and Deputy Prime Minister of Canada.
In 1994, Jean Charest was chosen Leader of the federal Progressive Conservative Party, becoming the party’s first French Canadian leader. He held that post until 1998 when he became the Leader of the Québec Liberal Party. Mr. Charest then broke a 50-year provincial record by winning three consecutive election campaigns in 2003, 2007 and 2008.