QUÉBEC CITY, June 25, 2018 – Philippe Couillard, Premier of Québec; Sébastien Proulx, Minister of Education, Recreation and Sports and Minister responsible for the Capitale-Nationale region; Hélène David, Minister responsible for Higher Education and for the Status of Women; and Christine St-Pierre, Minister of International Relations and La Francophonie, would like to offer their deepest condolences to the family and friends of Paul Gérin-Lajoie, who passed away on June 25, 2018.
On the day after our fête nationale, Paul Gérin-Lajoie, a figure of historic proportions at the origin of modern Québec, has left us. This morning, I had the opportunity to meet with Paul Gérin-Lajoie’s son, François Gérin-Lajoie. As a result of our discussion, I am announcing that we will hold a state funeral for Paul Gérin-Lajoie. During the Quiet Revolution, modernization and democratization of education opened the doors of modernity to Quebecers. Mr. Gérin-Lajoie left his stamp on his time and our history. More than half a century later, our public educational institutions are a testament to his memory. The Québec of 2018 owes a great deal to Paul Gérin-Lajoie, and this recognition will traverse our era and future generations. In the name of all Quebecers, I offer my most sincere condolences to his family.
– Philippe Couillard, Premier of Québec
How sad it was to learn of the death of Paul Gérin-Lajoie, one of the principal architects of Québec’s education system. If our system is what it is today, it is largely thanks to him. I am proud to follow in his footsteps as Minister of Education. Since 1987, he dedicated himself entirely to the foundation he set up to contribute to children’s basic education. He has been a model for many through his valuable involvement throughout his life.
– Sébastien Proulx, Minister of Education, Recreation and Sports and Minister responsible for the Capitale-Nationale region
Mr. Gérin-Lajoie was a great builder of the education system in Québec and a remarkable humanist. He put his heart and soul into the education of developing countries, and his commitment was only matched by his determination to support and assist them in building more educated societies. This great Quebecer will have marked our history.
– Hélène David, Minister responsible for Higher Education and for the Status of Women
I want to pay a special tribute to Mr. Gérin-Lajoie, the father of the large ministry I am proud and privileged to lead today. Through his vision of a modern, forward-looking state, the Gérin-Lajoie doctrine was born. In the eyes of this visionary, it was essential for Québec to realize its full potential and for it to be able to engage in the areas that fall within its constitutional jurisdiction with international players. Today, I fully understand his determination to develop Québec’s place on the international scene. And it is thanks to this man that, for more than 50 years, Québec has had a unique capacity to implement international commitments and that it now plays an active role on the international scene.
– Christine St-Pierre, Minister of International Relations and La Francophonie
Highlights of Paul Gérin-Lajoie’s life
On May 13, 1964, Paul Gérin-Lajoie was appointed Québec’s first Minister of Education. He held this position for more than two years, and, under his leadership, the broad reform of the Québec education system, the cornerstone of the Quiet Revolution, took place.
In 1977, he set up the Foundation Paul Gérin-Lajoie, who’s mission is to contribute to children’s basic education as well as literacy and vocational training of young people in developing countries. One of the best-known facets of his Foundation is the famous Dictée P.G.L.
His exceptional achievements, values and ideals won him prestigious awards and titles:
- 1979 – Companion of the Order of the Canada
- 1987 – Officer of the National Order of Québec
- 1992 – Honorary doctor of UQAM
- 1998 – Grand Officer of the National Order of Québec
- 2002 – Knight of the Legion of Honour
- 2013 – Winner of the Georges-Émile-Lapalme prize
- 2018 – Emeritus member of the Québec Order of Excellence in Education