Born — Oct. 24, 1954, in Ottawa. Age 57.
Educated — Lawyer with degrees in civil and common law from McGill University.
Private career — Director of legal affairs for English-rights group Alliance Quebec; professor at University du Quebec a Trois Rivieres; president of the order of Quebec professionals.
Provincial political career — Liberal member of Quebec legislature, 1994-2007; environment minister 2003-2006. Quit after dispute with Quebec Premier Jean Charest over development in a provincial park.
Federal political career — Won 2007 byelection for NDP in Montreal riding of Outremont, a longtime Liberal fortress. Named deputy leader. Re-elected 2008 and 2011.
Personal life — Married, two children.
For the record — "A lot of the words that we use and a lot of the choices we make policy-wise show that we're still rooted in the past ... We're not going to defeat Stephen Harper with a slogan." Arguing for a more centrist message that reaches beyond the NDP's traditional target audience.