|Canadian Ambassador to France|
Assumed office |
May 10, 2012
|Preceded by||Marc Lortie|
|Minister of Foreign Affairs|
October 30, 2008 – May 18, 2011
|Prime Minister||Stephen Harper|
|Preceded by||David Emerson|
|Succeeded by||John Baird|
|Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities|
February 6, 2006 – October 30, 2008
|Prime Minister||Stephen Harper|
|Preceded by||Jean Lapierre|
|Succeeded by||John Baird|
|Member of the Canadian Parliament|
January 23, 2006 – May 2, 2011
|Preceded by||David Smith|
|Succeeded by||Mathieu Ravignat|
|Member of the Quebec National Assembly|
for La Peltrie
December 2, 1985 – September 12, 1994
|Preceded by||Pauline Marois|
|Succeeded by||Michel Côté|
December 6, 1947|
Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
|Political party||Conservative Party (2003–present)|
|Liberal Party (Before 2003)|
University of Montreal|
Lawrence Cannon, PC (born December 6, 1947) is a Canadian politician from Quebec and Prime Minister Stephen Harper's former Quebec lieutenant. In early 2006, he was made the Minister of Transport. On October 30, 2008, he relinquished oversight of Transport and was sworn in as Minister of Foreign Affairs. He was defeated in the 2011 federal election by the NDP's Mathieu Ravignat. He was named Canada's ambassador to France in May 2012.
Life and career
Cannon is the son of government lawyer Louis Cannon and Quebec television broadcast pioneer Rosemary "Posie" Power, and the grandson of Lucien Cannon and Charles Gavan Power. He is also the grand-nephew of Lawrence Arthur Dumoulin Cannon, a long-time Liberal politician and Supreme Court judge. He is the great grandson of Sir Charles Fitzpatrick, defender of Louis Riel and former Senior Minister in Laurier's cabinet. He is of Irish and French Canadian descent.
The extended Cannon family has had strong regional and national political influence in Canada for over a century and is considered to be influential as one of Canada's hereditary ruling class families, members having served in positions as lawyers, judges, Supreme Court judges, senators, ministers of defence, solicitors general, and members of parliament. They have had large influence in the national resource industries, as "barons" in the lumber industry particularly, as well as in broadcasting.
The most famous member of the family was Cannon's maternal grandfather, Charles "Chubby" Power, a confidante and Minister of National Defence for Air to Governor General John Buchan, 1st Baron Tweedsmuir in the Cabinet of Prime Minister Mackenzie King.
He graduated in political science from the Université de Montréal in 1971; and then worked for Liberal Premier Robert Bourassa as correspondence secretary, leaving in 1976 for higher academic studies. Cannon received an MBA from Université Laval in 1979. He worked then in private sector as a financial analyst for Société de développement industriel until 1981; and then as head of Les Radiateurs Roy ltée from September 1981, to December 1985.
Cannon has been a long-time member of the Knights of Columbus.
Provincial political career
Cannon then was elected in 1985 as a member of the Quebec Liberal Party to the National Assembly of Quebec for the provincial riding of La Peltrie; and then served as Parliamentary Secretary: notably to the Minister of Foreign Trade and Technological Development, and then Tourism. From October 1990 to January 1994 he was minister for communications, and implemented the 911 emergency system as well as the Privacy Act within Quebec. He was also active with the federal Liberals supporting Sheila Copps (who as well later became Deputy Prime Minister of Canada) in her attempt to win the federal 1990 Liberal leadership election won instead by Jean Chrétien.
Private sector work
Cannon worked in private industry as vice-president of Unitel; now AT&T Canada Corp. during the AT&T takeover of the Canadian firm; and in other concerns between 1994 and 2001 primarily in the field of information technologies. Cannon then remarried; and took an interest in Quebec local politics building a new constituency.
Constituency building in local politics
Cannon was elected as councillor for Gatineau City Council in 2001, representing Hull's Val-Tétreau District, under mayor Yves Ducharme. He served as president of the Société de Transport de l'Outaouais from January 2002 to November 2005, while at the same time he was appointed president of the Association du transport urbain du Québec. He had an especial sympathy for solving transport problems in Gatineau by road building rather than public transit approaches. During his mandate, the STO developed a BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) project called "Rapibus", that has since been completed. His association and ownership of Groupe Cannon and Associates, a consulting company in telecommunications, has received little attention, and this ownership is expected to be put in a blind trust as is usual in federal politics.
Foreign policy initiatives
Cannon travelled extensively in Europe and the Americas both in and out of public life. In 2001, Cannon was appointed to the Board of the World Commerce Institute, and then as President and General Manager of AmeriContact for the Quebec City Summit of the Americas in Quebec City.
Although Cannon and his family have historically supported the federal Liberals, he switched to the Conservative Party of Canada in the early 2000s. At the time, his switch to the Conservative Party raised eyebrows among the political class and the media, which generally attributed the move to his inability to make an impression with the Liberal Party. On September 16, 2005, he was named deputy chief of staff and deputy executive director of the Conservative Party. He was also named as Quebec lieutenant to party leader Stephen Harper.
He successfully ran as a Conservative candidate in the riding of Pontiac in the 2006 federal election, beating incumbent Liberal M.P. David Smith. Winning with 33.68% of the vote, Cannon gained support from traditional Liberal voters. The Liberals had held the riding and its predecessors for all but nine years since 1935, and the Conservative candidate had finished a distant third in 2004 with 22.15% of the vote.
On February 6, 2006, he was sworn in as Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities. This portfolio includes Transport Canada, Infrastructure Canada, the Canadian Transportation Agency, the Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada and 16 Crown corporations.
Many pundits had predicted that Cannon would also be named Deputy Prime Minister of Canada, but Harper chose not to retain that office. However, Cannon was first on the list of ministers designated to fill in for Harper if he is unable to perform his duties, making him Deputy Prime Minister in practice if not in name. This was further emphasized when Cannon seconded the pro forma bill to start the first session of the 39th Canadian Parliament; the bill is introduced before the House takes the Speech from the Throne under consideration to maintain the right of the House to consider matters other than those directed to it by the crown. This bill is normally proposed by the Prime Minister and seconded by either the Deputy Prime Minister or the Government House Leader.
Cannon was one of the higher-ranking Red Tories in the Harper cabinet.
He has denied diplomat Richard Colvin's claim that Afghan prisoners transferred from the Canadian forces to the Afghan police were tortured.
On May 10, 2012, Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed Cannon as ambassador to France.
In June 2009, after being asked whether the Canadian government will "choose not to abandon Ronald Smith, a Canadian who has on death row in Montana for over 25 years", Cannon answered "(...) I will be very clear on this, clemency is not an obligation. It must be earned. We will study each appeal for clemency individually."
On September 21, 2009, Abdelrazik sued Cannon for $3-million alleging misfeaseance in public office, intentional infliction of mental suffering, and violation of Abdelrazik's constitutional rights under ss 6, 7 & 12 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. On August 30, 2010, the Federal Court refused a motion by Canadian government lawyers seeking to prevent the suit against Cannon from proceeding.
- Clark, Campbell (May 10, 2012). "Harper rewards defeated minister Lawrence Cannon with Paris post". Globe and Mail. Retrieved May 10, 2012.
- Ottawa, The (2008-10-15). "Cannon cruises to re-election in Pontiac". Canada.com. Retrieved 2010-07-05.
- Archived September 25, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
- "Journals (No. 002)". .parl.gc.ca. Retrieved 2010-07-05.
- Fisher, Matthew (November 19, 2009). "Cannon denies all Canadian detainees tortured by Afghans". Vancouver Sun. Canwest News Service.
- Statement of Claim of Bdelrazik
- Paul Koring, "Abdelrazik sues Ottawa for $27-million," The Globe and Mail Thursday, Sep. 24, 2009 12:00AM EDT.
- "Abdelrazik gets OK to sue Canada". CBC News. September 1, 2010. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
- "Biography". Dictionnaire des parlementaires du Québec de 1792 à nos jours (in French). National Assembly of Quebec.
- Lawrence Cannon – Parliament of Canada biography