Biographies of Participants

Allmand, Warren McGill University

The Hon. Warren Allmand, PC, was educated at St. Francis Xavier University, McGill University, the University of Paris, and the Institute of Comparative Law. Elected in November 1965 as Liberal MP for the constituency of Notre-Dame de Grâce (Montreal), and re-elected for eight consecutive terms, Mr. Allmand has served as Solicitor General, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, and Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs, among other key appointments. Retired from Parliament in 1997, he served as President of Rights and Democracy (the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development) and has served as a consultant in international human rights and lectured on the same subject at McGill University since 2002. He is an alumnus of the Newman Centre and a member of the Board of Directors of the Newman Association of Montreal.



Boudreau, Spencer McGill University

Spencer Boudreau, PhD, is member of the Faculty of Education at McGill where he served as Director of Student Teaching and as Associate Dean of Students. Presently he is the Ombudsperson for Students at McGill. His research interests and publications include the subject of religious education in public and private schools. He was a member of the Catholic Committee of the Ministry of Education during the debate surrounding the place of religion in Quebec schools. As a member of the Newman Association of Montreal, Dr. Boudreau had the privilege of knowing Mr. Ryan personally.



Charest, Jean Partner, McCarthy Tétrault LLP, Former Premier of Québec, Member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada

As Deputy Prime Minister of Canada and Premier of Québec, Jean Charest is one of Canada’s best known political figures. As Minister of the Environment, he led his country’s delegation at the 1992 Earth Summit on the economy and the environment in Rio and was praised for his leadership role among G7 countries on climate change and biodiversity. The Charest government has been a world leader on the environment and climate change, and best known for a major initiative for the sustainable development of Northern Québec called “Plan Nord”. Under his leadership, Québec experienced a sustained period of economic prosperity with stronger economic growth from 2008 to 2012 than the US, Europe, Canada and Ontario, despite a global financial and economic crisis. For the International arena, his administration was the most active in the history of Québec. Thus, the Charest government initiated an unprecedented labour mobility agreement between France and Québec, and convinced Canada and the European Union to negotiate a broad economic partnership. Jean Charest is a Partner at McCarthy Tétrault. He provides invaluable expertise to the firm’s clients with his in-depth knowledge and experience with public policy, corporate Canada and international matters. As a strategic advisor with a unique perspective, he supports our clients on complex transactions, projects and international mandates, as they navigate the global business environment.



Descôteaux, Bernard Le Devoir

Mr. Descôteaux currently serves as the Director of Le Devoir – a position he has held since 1999. He joined Le Devoir in 1974 as a journalist while Claude Ryan was serving as its Director. In addition to his many articles, Mr. Descôteaux is the author of the book Québec: Élections 1981 (Montreal: Hurtubise, 1981) and was a contributing author of both La bataille de l’imprimé à l’ère du papier électronique (Montreal: PUM, 2008) and of Le nouvel ordre constitutionnel. Du rapatriement de 1982 à nos jours (Montreal: PUQ, 2013).




Donovan, Paul Loyola High School

Paul Donovan has been involved in education for over 20 years. He has been a teacher, coach, vice-principal and has served as principal at Loyola High School in Montreal for the past nine years. He has had a significant role in Loyola’s Supreme Court challenge regarding religious education and the role of the state. He is the President of the Quebec Association of Independent Schools (QAIS) and also serves as President of the English Speaking Catholic Council (ESCC).




Fortier, André École nationale d'administration publique

Mr. Fortier is currently Administrative Director at L’Observatoire de l’administration publique, ENAP, previous to which he held various positions as Associate Secretary General at the Ministère du Conseil executif from 2005 to 2012. From 1981 to 1991, Fortier worked for Claude Ryan, first as a researcher in the National Assembly and then, from 1985, as Chief of Staff, assisting him with key ministerial responsibilities: Education, Higher Education and Science, Municipal Affairs, Public Security, and application of the French Language Charter.




Gallichan, Gisèle Freelance journalist and Announcer

A journalist by trade, Gisèle Gallichan made her debut as a writer and radio reporter for CKCV Quebec in 1973. For nearly thirty years, she worked as a political correspondent at the Quebec National Assembly, working for Radio-Mutuel, for Radio-Canada (both TV and radio broadcasting), for TVA and for Radio-Québec (now Télé-Québec). Appointed to the Bureau des audiences publiques sur l'environnement in 1997, she returned in 2004 to her trade as an independent (freelance) journalist. She is a lifetime honorary member of the Tribune de la presse de l’Assemblée nationale.




Gauvreau, Michael McMaster University

Professor of History at McMaster University, Gauvreau is writing a two-volume biography of Claude Ryan, placing him at the intersection of Catholicism, liberalism, federalism, and nationalism in Quebec between 1950 and 1995. He is the author of “Catholicisme, nationalisme et fédéralisme, dans la pensée de Claude Ryan: la contribution de l'Action catholique, 1945-1964” (2009) and of the award-winning monograph The Catholic Origins of the Quiet Revolution 1931-1970 (McGill-Queens UP, 2005).




Kelley, Geoffrey Member of the National Assembly

Mr. Kelley was first elected to the Quebec National Assembly in 1994 and is currently in his sixth consecutive term as Liberal Member for Jacques-Cartier. In addition to representing his constituents, he serves as Chair of the Official Opposition Caucus and as the Official Opposition Critic for Aboriginal Affairs and Relations with the English-Speaking Community. From September 1990 until February 1994, Mr. Kelley served on Claude Ryan’s staff as a political assistant when Mr. Ryan was Minister of Public Security, and of Municipal Affairs. Mr. Kelley worked on police relations with minorities, relations with first Nations and Inuit communities, and on drafting new language legislation.




Lachapelle, Guy Concordia University

Professor of Political Science at Concordia University and Secretary General of the International Political Science Association, Lachapelle is cited as an expert in the Quebec and Canadian political scene. He is the author of the book Claude Ryan et la violence du pouvoir – Le Devoir et la Crise d’octobre 1970 ou le combat de journalistes démocrates (Presses de l’Université Laval, 2005).






Lefebvre, Solange Université de Montréal

Professor Lefebvre holds the Chair in Religion, Culture, and Society at l’Université de Montréal. She has written on the Catholic Church in Quebec and on recent debates in Quebec, including: “reasonable accommodation,” religious diversity, and religion in the public sphere. The Faculty of Theology and Social Sciences, to which she belongs, offers an annual student bursary thanks to a donation of Claude Ryan. In 2005, she co-organized a colloquium in honour of Mr. Ryan at l’Université de Montréal, which led to the publication of an edited volume: Ruptures et continuité de la société québécoise. Trajectoires de Claude Ryan(Faculté des études supérieures, Université de Montréal, 2005).



Leclerc, Jean-Claude Le Devoir

M. Jean-Claude Leclerc, originaire de Trois-Rivières est licencié en droit de l'université de Montréal. Au cours de sa longue carrière de journaliste, il a été éditorialiste au journal Le Devoir pendant plus de vingt ans. Jean-Claude Leclerc y tient maintenant la chronique "Éthique et religions". Il a été conseiller en rédaction et enseigne le journalisme à la Faculté d'Éducation permanente de l'Université de Montréal.





Marcil, Olivier McGill University

Since 2011, Mr. Marcil has served as McGill’s Vice Principal (Communications and External Relations). He worked previously at the National Assembly of Quebec, serving as Chief of Staff to Clément Gignac and Benoît Pelletier, and as advisor to Premier Jean Charest. Marcil is the author of several works on Quebec’s political landscape, including a study of Claude Ryan: La Raison et l’équilibre. Libéralisme, nationalisme et catholicisme dans la pensée de Claude Ryan au Devoir (1962-1978) (Éditions Varia, 2002).




Mulcair, Hon. Thomas Queen’s Privy Council and Member of Parliament

Thomas Mulcair is the Member of Parliament for Outremont, Leader of the Official Opposition, and Leader of Canada's New Democrats since 2012, succeeding the Hon. Jack Layton (1950-2011). Mulcair was both a colleague and friend of Claude Ryan. Previous to his career as a Federal politician, Mulcair served three consecutive terms from 1994 to 2003 as the Liberal MNA for Chomedey, managing key responsibilities, such as Critic for Justice and for Industry and Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks.




Mulroney, The Right Hon. Brian Queen’s Privy Council, Companion of the Order of Canada, Grand Officer of Ordre national du Québec

In September 1984, Brian Mulroney became Canada's 18th Prime Minister. He was re-elected with a majority government four years later thereby becoming the first Canadian Prime Minister in 35 years to win successive majority governments and the first Conservative Prime Minister to do so in 100 years. He resigned in June 1993, having served almost 9 years as Prime Minister. Upon resigning, Mr. Mulroney rejoined the Montreal law firm of Norton Rose as Senior Partner. Mr. Mulroney has been awarded Canada's highest honour, Companion of the Order of Canada, and has also been made a Grand Officer of the Ordre national du Québec. He has received honorary degrees and awards from universities and governments at home and abroad.



Parisella, John Campus Montréal

Currently, the Executive Director of Campus Montreal, which is responsible for the major fundraising campaign at HEC Montréal, Polytechnique Montréal and Université de Montréal, Mr. Parisella was previously Québec's Delegate General in New York. He has also served as Director General of the Québec Liberal Party (1986-1988) and as Chief of Staff to premiers Robert Bourassa and Daniel Johnson from 1989 to 1994. He was also President of BCP Advertising until 2009. He entered Québec politics because of Mr. Claude Ryan and took his Liberal Party card the day before Mr. Ryan declared his candidacy.




Pratte, André La Presse

With over 30 years of experience in journalism and recipient of several National Newspaper Awards, Mr. Pratte now serves as Chief Editorial Writer of La Presse – a position to which he was named in 2001 after being with the newspaper since 1986. He is the author of several political monographs, including Wilfrid Laurier (Toronto: Penguin Group, 2011).






Proulx, Jean-Pierre Université de Montréal, Emeritus

Now retired, Jean-Pierre Proulx taught as a professor at l’Université de Montréal from 1991 to 2009, during which time he also served as President of the Conseil supérieur de l'éducation (2002-2006). Most notably, he chaired the Working Group on the place of religion in schools (1997-1999), which produced the report Laïcité et religions (1999). This report, which Claude Ryan critiqued, led to the complete secularization of public schools in Quebec. Prior to his work in education, Mr. Proulx was a journalist and editor for Le Devoir, where he covered religion and education (1968-1974; 1980-1991). Between 1975 and 1980 he was appointed to the Ministère de l'Éducation to oversee the application of the French Language Charter in the context of education.



Raboy, Marc McGill University

Marc Raboy is Professor and Beaverbrook Chair in Ethics, Media and Communications in the Department of Art History and Communication Studies. A former journalist in a wide variety of media, educated at McGill, Professor Raboy taught previously at the Université de Montréal and Laval University. He is the author or editor of seventeen books and more than one hundred journal articles or book chapters, as well as reports for such organizations as the World Bank, UNESCO, the Japan Broadcasting Corporation, the European Broadcasting Union, the Policy Research Secretariat of the Government of Canada, and the Quebec Ministry for Culture and Communication.



Robillard, Denise Retired Scholar and Author

Denise Robillard holds a PhD in Religious Studies from the University of Ottawa. Her many books include: Émile Léger, Évolution de sa pensée, 1950-1967; La traversée du Saguenay. Cent ans d’éducation. Les Sœurs de Notre-Dame du Bon-Conseil de Chicoutimi. 1894-1994; Aventurières de l’ombre. Les missions des Sœurs de la Providence de Montréal, 1962-1997; Maurice Baudoux, 1902-1988. Une grande figure de l’Église et de la société dans l’Ouest canadien; L’Ordre de Jacques Cartier, une société secrète pour les Canadiens français catholiques, 1926-1950; and Monseigneur Joseph Charbonneau. Bouc émissaire d’une lutte de pouvoir. Dr. Robillard met Claude Ryan in 1985 while researching her book on Msgr. Charbonneau, whom Mr. Ryan had met in 1940 during his involvement with Catholic Action.



Ryan, Patrice Ryan Affaires Publiques

Patrice Ryan is president of Ryan Affaires Publiques, a public policy relations firm he founded in 2006. He is the son of the late Claude Ryan. He lives in Montreal with his wife Marie-Claude Lortie and their three children Juliette, Léon and Alice.

Supported By   

  • Office of the Provost

    Office of Communications and External Relations

    Dean of Arts

    Kennedy Smith Chair in Catholic Studies

    Faculty of Religious Studies

    Centre for Research on Religion

    Pluralism, Religion, and Public Policy

    McGill Institute for the Study of Canada