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Antoine Dionne Charest ‘fell in love with Quebec and Canadian politics’ at Concordia

Son of Jean Charest considering his own leap into politics when the timing is right
January 17, 2024
By Julie Barlow, MA 94

 Smiling man with dark hair, blue eyes, wearing a white shirt and dark suit jacket, against a neutral grey background. “I’d like to become an MNA, ideally in the election of 2026,” says Antoine Dionne Charest.

Though it was very much part of his upbringing, Antoine Dionne Charest, BA 11, says that he “first fell in love with Quebec and Canadian politics” during his studies at Concordia.

Dionne Charest, the son of former Quebec Premier Jean Charest and Michèle Dionne, admits that his passion for Canadian politics may have had something to do with his family background, too. He admits, however, that he wasn’t really sure if he liked politics until he studied at Concordia.

“I remember the first course I took was taught by Brooke Jeffrey, who worked for the federal government at the time,” he says, recalling a succinct definition of federalism Jeffrey provided with which he didn’t agree. “I was so nervous, I think I answered her in French!” adds Dionne Charest, who was fluently bilingual but studying in English for the first time at Concordia.

“In the end, Concordia was the most stimulating experience I have ever had in my studies,” adds Dionne Charest, who completed a double major in political science and community, public affairs and policy studies at Concordia’s School of Community and Public Affairs before pursuing graduate studies in philosophy and public policy at the London School of Economics and Université de Montréal.

“Undergraduate studies and graduate studies — especially if in the sciences or the social sciences — teach you how to think, how to structure your thoughts and how to write. For me, that process started at Concordia.”

Since graduating from Concordia, Dionne Charest has worked as a public-affairs consultant. He recently founded his own consulting firm, ADC Conseil, and is a sessional instructor at Université de Montréal, where he is finishing a PhD in philosophy and public affairs.

A pursuit of politics

Dionne Charest says he is strongly considering running for office in the next Quebec provincial election. “I’d like to become an MNA [member of the National Assembly], ideally in the election of 2026. But I’ll run when the time is right and when I believe I have something relevant to say.”

In the meantime, he has been helping to rebuild Quebec’s Liberal Party (QLP), which in recent years has polled at historic lows, even in the non-francophone community — where it usually enjoys high support.

He is also one of 14 members of the Committee on the Revival of the QLP. The goal of the committee is to “redefine the party, identify where we stand on issues and what our position is in the political spectrum,” he says.

Dionne Charest has been involved in the party for the last 15 years and is one of the authors of the report for the revival of the party, which was published in October 2023. Following two consecutive electoral defeats, the QLP decided to take a step back, reflect on how it needed to adapt to the current political landscape and what it stood for, adds Dionne Charest of the party his father led to an historic three consecutive terms in government.

“I wrote the chapter on how to assert ourselves, as Liberals. What does it mean to be a liberal today? Why, why do we believe in liberal values in Quebec? And how can Quebec assert itself in Canada? We are the only official federalist party in Quebec and we have to be able to say what that means today,” says Dionne Charest.

“I think the party needs to defend anglophones and it needs to be unapologetic about it. I’ve taken a strong stance, and part of the reason for that is because of my experience at Concordia.”


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