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Martin Cauchon
Member of Parliament
for Outremont
In office
25 October 1993 – 28 June 2004
Preceded byJean-Pierre Hogue
Succeeded byJean Lapierre
Minister of Justice
In office
15 January 2002 – 11 December 2003
Prime MinisterJean Chrétien
Preceded byAnne McLellan
Succeeded byIrwin Cotler
Personal details
Born (1962-08-23) 23 August 1962 (age 60)
La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada
Political partyLiberal Party of Canada

Martin Cauchon, PC (born 23 August 1962) is a Canadian lawyer and politician in Quebec Canada. He is a former Liberal Cabinet Minister in the government of Jean Chrétien. He is married to Dorine Perron and together, they have three children : Charles, François and Catherine.

Cauchon was born in La Malbaie, Quebec and studied law at the University of Ottawa and the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom. He worked as a lawyer from 1985 to 1993, and from 2004 to present. Cauchon was counsel with Gowlings and with the now-defunct law firm of Heenan Blaikie. Today, he is counsel at the Montreal office of DS Lawyers Canada LLP, an international law firm. He is also a Vice-Chairman of the Canada China Business Council.[1] He unsuccessfully ran for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada in 2013 as Justin Trudeau was the favourite.


Cauchon first ran for public office in the 1988 federal election when he challenged Prime Minister Brian Mulroney in the riding of Charlevoix, however he was unsuccessful in this bid. In the 1993 federal election Cauchon once again sought a seat in the House of Commons of Canada. In this election he was elected in the Montreal riding of Outremont, he was re-elected in the 1997 and 2000 elections.

Cauchon was appointed Secretary of State for the Federal Office of Regional Development - Quebec by Prime Minister Jean Chrétien in 1996. He became a full cabinet minister in 1999 when he was given the position of Minister of National Revenue. On 15 January 2002, he became Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and Quebec lieutenant.[2] As justice minister, Cauchon argued in cabinet in favour of same-sex marriage and the decriminalization of marijuana (indeed, when asked whether he had used marijuana in the past, he responded "Yes, of course").[3] As a minister, Cauchon leave its marks on many files. As Secretary of State for regional development, he solidified the community future organisation in the province of Quebec. During his tenue as minister of national revenu, he introduced the customs action plan opening the door for the use of more technologies in managing the Canada-US border. As Minister of Justice, he fought for equality right and tabled the bill on same-sex marriage. He also introduced a bill decriminalizing marijuana. Even though that latter bill wasn't pass into law, it was the precursor of the legalization of marijuana.

Cauchon during 2010.

In 2009, Cauchon indicated he was interested in re-entering politics and running in his former riding of Outremont, which was then held by New Democratic Party (NDP) Deputy Leader Thomas Mulcair. The Liberal Party's Quebec Lieutenant Denis Coderre, who was tasked with finding Quebec candidates for the next election, announced that the riding was closed off to Cauchon and was being reserved for a female candidate. Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff originally sided with Coderre in opposing Cauchon return, and instead planned to appoint prominent businesswoman Nathalie le Prohon as the candidate in the riding.[4] However, after facing pressure from within his caucus Ignatieff reversed his earlier decision and decide to allow Cauchon to seek the nomination, after Le Prohon indicated she would seek the Liberal nomination in Jeanne-Le Ber.[5][6] The controversy over the nomination led to Coderre's resignation as the Liberal's Quebec Lieutenant and Defence Critic, saying he no longer had the "moral authority" to continue.[7]

In the federal election held on 2 May 2011, Cauchon was unsuccessful in his bid to unseat Mulcair. The NDP's support in Quebec, and throughout most of Canada, had surged in the final weeks of the campaign, at the expense of the Liberals and Bloc Québécois. The NDP won 59 seats in Quebec and replaced the Liberals as the Official Opposition in the House of Commons. Ignatieff had also failed in his bid to win re-election and resigned as party leader days later.


Cauchon during a Liberal Party candidates debate on 16 February 2013

Cauchon was a Chrétien loyalist and opposed Paul Martin's attempt to force Chrétien to retire. When Chrétien announced his resignation, Cauchon was touted as a possible candidate to succeed him but did not end up running in the 2003 leadership election. Cauchon refused to back Martin's leadership bid, and decided to support John Manley. Martin was elected leader and did not include Cauchon in his cabinet. Following this he announced he would not seek re-election in the 2004 federal election.[8][9]

Cauchon was considered a potential candidate in both the 2006 and 2009 Liberal leadership elections, however in both cases he announced he would not run. In 2006, he endorsed former Ontario Premier Bob Rae who placed third.[10][11][12]

At the Liberal Party's 2012 biennial convention, Cauchon hosted a hospitality suite leading to speculation that he was interested in running for leader in the 2013 leadership election.[13][14] In December 2012, it was reported that Cauchon was planning a lately entry into the race after some Liberals feared the top tier of contenders were supporting right-wing policies.[15] On the last weekend before the registration cutoff on 14 January 2013, Cauchon was trying to gather the 300 signatures needed to enter the leadership race.[16] Fellow leadership contender David Bertschi sent out an email to Liberals asking for their help to get enough signatures so that Cauchon could enter the contest.[17] On 14 April 2013, he lost the leadership election to Montreal MP Justin Trudeau.

Legal-post political career

Prior to his political career, Cauchon practised law in civil and commercial litigation from 1985 to 1993. Following his exit from politics Cauchon returned to practicing law. From 2004 to 2012 he practised commercial law at Gowling Lafleur Henderson. In February 2012, Cauchon joined the firm of Heenan Blaikie in Montreal.[18][19] He is now counsel at the Montreal office of DS Lawyers Canada LLP.[citation needed]

He is also member of numerous boards.[citation needed]

Between March 2015 and August 2019, he also bought from the Desmarais family the newspaper chain that he baptized Groupe Capitales Médias (Le Nouvelliste, Le Quotidien, Le Soleil, La Tribune , La Voix de l'est and Ontario-based Le Droit) and he asked Claude Gagnon to manage it for him. Faced with lower subscription rate, declining advertising rates and delays in federal government aid, it ended in bankruptcy protection and relaunched as a coop In December 2019.[citation needed]

Cauchon's passage in the medias happened during a very tumultuous period for the medias business. Nevertheless, he has made a contribution in modernizing the business model. He also argued for the importance of regional newspapers for maintaining a strong democracy.[citation needed]

Electoral record

2011 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
New Democratic Thomas Mulcair 21,906 56.37 +16.84
Liberal Martin Cauchon 9,204 23.69 -9.39
Conservative Rodolphe Husny 3,408 8.77 -1.76
Bloc Québécois Élise Daoust 3,199 8.23 -4.32
Green François Pilon 838 2.16 -2.15
Rhinoceros Tommy Gaudet 160 0.41
Communist Johan Boyden 143 0.37
Total valid votes/Expense limit 38,858 100.00
Total rejected ballots 291 0.74 +0.05
Turnout 39,149 60.46 +4.35
2000 Canadian federal election: Outremont
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Liberal Martin Cauchon 18,796 47.68 −2.47 $52,920
Bloc Québécois Amir Khadir 11,151 28.29 −0.10 $50,207
Progressive Conservative Robert Archambault 3,190 8.09 −4.12 $3,360
New Democratic Peter Graefe 2,199 5.58 −0.86 $590
Green Jan Schotte 1,478 3.75 $260
Alliance Josée Duchesneau 1,283 3.25 $1,425
Marijuana Huguette Plourde 1,013 2.57 none listed
Marxist–Leninist Louise Charron 194 0.49 −0.36 $10
Communist Pierre Smith 118 0.30 $187
Total 39,422 100.00
1997 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Martin Cauchon 22,271 50.15 +3.34
Bloc Québécois Michel Sarra-Bournet 12,608 28.39 -8.98
Progressive Conservative Marguerite Sicard 5,424 12.21 +3.30
New Democratic Tooker Gomberg 2,862 6.44 +1.89
Natural Law Denis Cauchon 868 1.95 +0.45
Marxist–Leninist Louise Charron 378 0.85 +0.46
Total 44,411 100.00
1993 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Martin Cauchon 21,638 46.81 +12.10
Bloc Québécois Jean-Louis Hérivault 17,274 37.37 -
Progressive Conservative Jean Pierre Hogue 4,119 8.91 -29.52
New Democratic Catherine Kallos 2,104 4.55 -15.93
Natural Law Daniel Bergeron 694 1.50 -
Marxist–Leninist Michel Rocheleau 179 0.39 -
Abolitionist Sylvain M. Coulombe 131 0.28 -
Commonwealth of Canada Mamunor Rashid 89 0.19 -0.07
Total 46,228 100.00


1988 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes
Progressive Conservative Brian Mulroney 33,730
Liberal Martin Cauchon 5,994
New Democratic Kenneth Choquette 1,819
Rhinoceros François Yo Gourd 600


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Liberal government gets major facelift". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 15 January 2002. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
  3. ^ Connelly, Joel (23 May 2003). "In the Northwest: Tom DeLay could use a different form of puffery". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 27 September 2009.
  4. ^ "Ignatieff rejects Cauchon's bid to re-enter politics". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 21 September 2009. Retrieved 18 January 2012.
  5. ^ "Key Liberals back Cauchon in riding fight". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 24 September 2009. Retrieved 18 January 2012.
  6. ^ "Cauchon gets OK to seek Outremont nomination". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 25 September 2009. Retrieved 18 January 2012.
  7. ^ Delacourt, Susan (29 September 2009). "Denis Coderre quits Quebec post in Liberal feud". Toronto Star. Retrieved 18 January 2012.
  8. ^ Lawton, Valerie (4 February 2004). Toronto Star. pp. A.07. ((cite news)): Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ Thompson, Elizabeth (20 December 2012). "Cauchon poised to enter Liberal leadership race". iPolitics. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
  10. ^ Ivison, John (31 January 2006). "Whole new ball game for Liberal leadership". Archived from the original on 25 January 2014. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
  11. ^ Bryden, Joan (18 November 2008). "Cauchon takes a pass at Liberal leadership". Toronto Star. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
  12. ^ "Cauchon won't run for Liberal leadership". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 19 November 2008. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
  13. ^ "'We embrace change': Rae". Montreal Gazette. January 2012. Retrieved 18 January 2012.
  14. ^ Bryden, Joan (15 January 2012). "McGuintys supply grist for Grits". Chronicle Herald. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
  15. ^ Bryden, Joan (18 December 2012). "Progressive Liberals alarmed as federal leadership contenders tilt right". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
  16. ^ Naumetz, Tim (11 January 2013). "Cauchon set to enter Liberal leadership race, Bertschi registers too". The Hill Times. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
  17. ^ "New spirit of Liberal co-operation". Toronto Star. 12 January 2012. Archived from the original on 19 January 2013. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
  18. ^ "Our Team - Martin Cauchon". Heenan Blaikie. Archived from the original on 17 June 2013. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
  19. ^ "'Martin Cauchon joins Jean Chrétien at law firm Heenan Blaikie': Rae". Montreal Gazette. February 2012. Retrieved 8 February 2012.
26th Ministry – Cabinet of Jean Chrétien Cabinet posts (2) Predecessor Office Successor Anne McLellan Minister of Justice2002–2003 Irwin Cotler Herb Dhaliwal Minister of National Revenue1999–2002 Elinor Caplan Sub-Cabinet Post Predecessor Title Successor Paul Martin Secretary of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)(1996–2002)(NB: "Secretary of State (Federal Office of Regional Development - Quebec)" before 1998) Claude Drouin