The number two government and longtime personal friend of Prime Minister Philippe Couillard, Juan Roberto Iglesias, leaves office.
Aged 71, Mr. Iglesias, who had been secretary-general of the government since April 2014, a big boss of the civil service, and a key person to ensure the link between politics and administration, is taking a semi-retirement.
He will remain, however, ad hoc ad hoc adviser to Prime Minister Couillard on specific issues, particularly as he prepares, by March, the next government budget, which will become all the more important by being the last before the election.
It is unclear to what extent Mr. Iglesias’ fragile health played a role in his decision to leave the boat at this time. During the summer and autumn, Mr. Iglesias had to leave office for several weeks to regain strength, experiencing health problems.
Informed sources said that while Iglesias asked the Prime Minister to be relieved of his duties to retire, the Prime Minister had convinced his trusted man to stay in office until the next election. , in October.
Finally, the Secretary General announced his departure on Wednesday, without specifying the exact reasons for his decision, nor to justify the moment chosen to apply it.
Everything indicates, moreover, that the transition will be smooth. Mr. Iglesias will be replaced by André Fortier, one of his assistants already well established on the Executive Council, who will take office from the beginning of 2018. He was until now responsible for senior positions. It was also he who had taken over the interim during the sick leave of his boss.
André Fortier, 55 years old, has a long experience of public administration, in various high-level positions, and was previously a regular in liberal political cabinets since the 1980s.
The new Senior Jobs Manager is Marlen Carter, a 61-year-old career civil servant who served as Fortier’s assistant.
Doctors and friends
Like Mr. Couillard, Mr. Iglesias was a doctor by training, and the two men share the city of Sherbrooke.
Mr. Iglesias has been professor and vice-dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the Université de Sherbrooke, where he still has his principal residence. He has also worked as Director of Professional Services at the Sherbrooke University Hospital Center (CHUS).
Before going into politics, Mr. Couillard was Director of the Department of Surgery at the University Hospital of Sherbrooke (CHUS).
When Mr. Couillard became Minister of Health in 2003, he became his deputy minister. And it was to him that he again appealed to become his right hand, when he became prime minister in April 2014.
On the sidelines of the weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers on Wednesday afternoon, some ministers paid tribute to Mr Iglesias.
“He did that brilliantly, and that’s what we have to emphasize today,” said Natural Resources Minister Pierre Moreau.