Montréal, Québec , Canada
|| February 23, 1949
Jul 18, 2018 10:07pm
|Info||Captain Joseph Jean-Pierre Marc Garneau CC, CD, PhD, FCASI was the first Canadian in space. He has taken part in three flights aboard NASA Space shuttles. He was the president of the Canadian Space Agency until he entered politics as the Liberal candidate in Vaudreuil-Soulanges for the 2006 federal election. In 2003 Garneau was installed as the ninth Chancellor of Carleton University in Ottawa. |
He was born in Quebec City and was educated there and in London, England. He gained a degree in engineering physics at the Royal Military College of Canada in 1970 and a doctorate from Imperial College London in 1973.
He joined the Canadian Navy in 1974 to work as an engineer. He first served as a systems engineer aboard HMCS Algonquin (DDH 283) until 1976. From there he went as an instructor to the Canadian Forces Fleet School in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He worked with the Naval Engineering Unit and in 1982 he was promoted to Commander.
In 1984 he was seconded to the new Canadian Astronaut Program (CAP), one of six chosen from 4,000 applicants. He flew on the shuttle Challenger, STS-41-G from October 5 to 13, 1984 as payload specialist. He was promoted to captain in 1986 and left the Navy in 1989 to become deputy director of the CAP. In 1992-93 he underwent further training to become a mission specialist. He worked as CAPCOM for a number of shuttle flights and was on two further flights himself - STS-77 (May 19 to 29, 1996) and STS-97 (to the ISS, November 30 to December 11, 2000). He has logged almost 678 hours in space and is now retired as an astronaut. He was also the president of the Canadian Space Agency.
In February 2001 he was appointed executive vice-president of the Canadian Space Agency, and became its president in November of the same year. In August 2003, Captain Garneau was made a Companion of the Order of Canada, Canada's highest civilian honour. He is also honoured with two high schools named after him, Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute in Toronto and École Secondaire Marc-Garneau in Trenton, Ontario. Captain Garneau is also the Honorary Captain of the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets. In addition, no 599 Royal Canadian Air Cadets squadron is named in his honour.
Garneau resigned from his employment with the Canadian Space Agency to run for the Liberal Party of Canada in the Canadian federal 2006 federal election as a star candidate. He ran in Vaudreuil-Soulanges represented by Meili Faille of the Bloc Québécois. Garneau was dogged by the sponsorship scandal, which dragged down most Liberal candidates in marginal Quebec ridings. He also made some controversial comments, arguing that Quebec separation should not be envisaged with the same haste as Iraq's invasion by the United States. In addition, he suggested that he would like to return to space along with separatist leaders Gilles Duceppe and André Boisclair, arguing that they would probably become federalists, seeing the Earth without its artificial borders. This remark was ridiculed as political naivete by his Bloc opponents. In the end a stronger-than-expected Conservative candidate siphoned off many federalist votes and Garneau lost to Faille by 9 200 votes.
He remained active in politics, supporting Michael Ignatieff's bid to lead the Liberal Party. He hoped to be considered for the Liberal candidacy for the Outremont by-election in September 2007, but was obliged to withdraw after being told by Stéphane Dion that the riding was reserved for another candidate. Soon afterwards, he departed from political life, citing Stéphane Dion's ambivalence as a main factor in his decision.
Garneau has since been reinstated as a candidate in the Westmount—Ville-Marie riding by Liberal leader Stéphane Dion.