Charbonneau, Yvon

Yvon Charbonneau, teacher, president of the Centrale de l'enseignement du Québec (CEQ) (b at Mont-Laurier, Qué 11 July 1940). After studying at Université de Montréal, Charbonneau taught French and the humanities in Québec and Tunisia in 1961-69. His election to the CEQ in 1970 marked the union's abandonment of corporatism as advocated by Roman Catholic social doctrine and its adoption of a critical stance towards the capitalist system. Under Charbonneau the CEQ became a genuine union, renouncing its corporate charter, changing its name and opening its ranks to non-teaching workers in education. The union took a harder line in negotiations with the government and in 1972 formed a Common Front with other unions.

This Common Front led to the imprisonment of Charbonneau, Louis Laberge, president of the Quebec Federation of Labour, and Marcel Pepin, president of the Confederation Of National Trade Unions, for urging their members to ignore a no-strike injunction. Defeated as CEQ president in 1978, Charbonneau was kept on as a special adviser and later, director of communications. He resumed presidency of the CEQ in 1982 and led it during the difficult negotiations with the government which ended in 1983 with the adoption of Bill 111. The Bill forced a return to work under pain of discretionary collective dismissals. Re-elected in 1984 and 1986, he left the union in 1986. In a surprising turn, he became liberal candidate in the provincial elections of 1994 and won the riding of Mercier. In an equally astonishing move, he decided in 1997 to throw himself into federal politics as a candidate for the Liberal Party. He was elected in the riding of Anjou-Rivière-des-Prairies.