05/14/2012 05:50 EDT | Updated 07/14/2012 05:12 EDT

Line Beauchamp Resignation: Most Powerful Woman In Quebec Cabinet Couldn't Solve Student Dispute


QUEBEC - Line Beauchamp was trained as a psychologist but that didn't help her sway the minds of students protesting tuition fee increases in Quebec.

Beauchamp, Quebec's deputy premier and education minister, quit politics on Monday, saying that after recent talks had stalled she didn't feel she could help resolve the bitter months-long dispute.

"So I'm making the ultimate compromise I can make," she told a news conference.

"I'm relinquishing my role."

Beauchamp had been Charest's point person on the file, sitting across the table from student leaders and trying to reach a compromise in recent weeks to no avail.

The most powerful woman in the Quebec cabinet and Premier Jean Charest's right arm, she was the third woman Charest had put in the province's No. 2 spot.

The others were Monique Gagnon-Tremblay, who quit as deputy premier in 2009, and Nathalie Normandeau, whom Beauchamp replaced on Sept. 7, 2011, when Normandeau quit for personal reasons.

With Charest's government mired in multiple ethics scandals, journalists sought to probe whether there might have been more to Beauchamp's resignation.

The first question she faced at Monday's news conference was whether it might actually have been related to reports about a Liberal fundraising event she attended, in the company of an alleged member of the Italian Mafia — not the student crisis.

Beauchamp replied that she did not know the person in question.

Elected with crushing majorities in her riding, Beauchamp was well-regarded in the east-end Montreal area she served. She appeared to get along with key local players as well as stakeholders on her ministerial files — until the tuition fiasco, that is.

Beauchamp, 49, has held the contentious education portfolio since 2010 and had as one of the highlights of her stint a bill against bullying in schools.

First elected in the Montreal-area riding of Sauve — later renamed Bourassa-Sauve — in 1998, Beauchamp was the international relations critic while in opposition.

Once the Liberals took power in 2003, Beauchamp held a number of cabinet positions, including minister of sustainable development, environment and culture and communications in Charest's administration.

She was also minister for the Montreal region as well as deputy House leader.

Beauchamp was born in Valleyfield, near Montreal, and obtained her degree in psychology at the Universite de Montreal in 1985. In 1987, she was director of Info-croissance, a consumer-protection agency that monitored organizations promoting psychotherapy and personal awareness.

Beauchamp moved into the media world between 1991 and 1998, serving as director general of radio station CIBL-FM.

Besides that job, she was also a member of the board of the CEGEP de Maisonneuve junior college from 1995 to 1998, and the Olympic Installations Board from 1996 to 1998.

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