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Marc Garneau: the astronaut

By Suzy Coolen

Dr. Marc Garneau was born in 1949 in Quebec City. He started his lifelong career in public service at the age of 16 when he attended the Royal Military College in Saint Jean, Québec.

Garneau made history in October 1984 when he became the first Canadian to fly in space. Since that mission he has completed two other missions and has logged almost 700 hours in space.

Garneau was made a Companion of the Order of Canada in 2003, which is this country’s highest civilian honour.  He also has been honoured with two high schools named after him, Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute in Toronto and École Secondaire Marc Garneau in Trenton, Ontario

In 2001, Garneau became president of The Canadian Space Agency, a position he left in 2005 to pursue a career in politics.

Defeated in the 2006 federal election, he ran in 2008 where he was elected MP for the Montreal riding of Westmount – Ville-Marie. He was re-elected in the 2011 election where he has served as Liberal Party House leader in the House of Commons as well as the Liberal critic for Natural resource.

Now running for leader of the Liberal party of Canada, Garneau is considered a front runner in the race. His vision is to focus on a knowledge-based economy and to make post-secondary education more accessible.  Garneau feels that an economy of this type will open the world to young Canadians and provide them with the opportunities they seek.

If elected Garneau has also proposed to reform Canada’s electoral system to a more democratic system of a preferential ballot.