I am often asked about Québec's first official representative in New York - who he was and how he was selected for the job. It turns out that the story is a truly fascinating one. (Photo, left to right: Thomas G. Anderson, Premier Jean Lesage and Delegate General Charles Chartier)
In the late 1930s, Québec's Minister of Municipal Affairs, Industry and Commerce, Mr. Osacr Drouin, was one of the most enthusiastic supporters of the creation of a Québec Government Office in New York. Mr. Drouin was determined to provide the office - which was called an Agence générale at that time - with seasoned and highly qualified leaders. Working in collaboration with the Canadian government's Department of Industry and Commerce, he requested that an official with that Department be temporarily assigned to Québec's New York Office. Two Canadian trade officials, Théo Monty and Yves Lamontagne, were identified as possible candidates for the job.
That's when things got interesting.
Théo Monty, who was Canada's Junior Trade Commissioner in Oslo, had confirmed his interest in the posting but was captured by the German Army following Norway's surrender on June 9, 1940. Yves Lamontagne, Canada's Senior Trade Commissioner in Brussels, finally chose another posting.
Charles Chartier, who was the Secretary of the Agence générale, assumed de facto the responsabilities of Québec's official representative in New York. He was confirmed in his post in 1943 and remained Québec's official representative in New York City until 1969, a record 29 years.
Since Charles Chartier's tenure, sixteen officials (including myself) have represented Quebec in New York. It appears highly unlikely that Mr. Chartier's record for longevity will ever be broken - he was an outstanding public servant and we owe him a debt of gratitude.