Pierre Ducasse’s life is a sum of varied and complementary experiences. He has combined knowledge from the world of non-profit organizations, the social economy, the union movement, and politics. A tireless professional and activist for solidarity and social justice, he is a thinker, a strategist, an organizer and a communicator.
Pierre was born on August 18, 1972. His father, Fernando Ducasse, was a carpenter-joiner and his mother, Jacqueline Bujold, was a secretary before becoming a stay-at-home mother. He was born in Sept-Iles, an industrial city on Quebec’s North-Shore, where he spent his childhood.
His has a college diploma in administration (from the Sept-Iles and Sainte-Foy CEGEPs), with specialization in marketing.
At the age of 17, he became involved in the New Democratic Party of Canada. From 1990 to 1992, he was associate-president of the New Democratic Youth of Canada.
He began his university studies at Laval University in Québec City in 1992, obtaining a BA in political science in 1995, while also studying the economy, philosophy and theology. He was on the Dean’s List in the Social Sciences Department due to his excellent academic performance. In 1998, he completed a Master’s degree. The topic of his thesis was the tension between political liberalism and cultural minority rights in the works of Will Kymlicka.
From 1995 to 1998, being back on the North-Shore for part of the year, he conducted research projects on literacy and basic training for workers (in both industry and in the fisheries). These were his first experiences in the labour market. During that time, he was also active in Québec’s Forum on Social Development (1997-1998), and was president of the local forum in the regional county municipality of Sept-Rivières.
In 1997, at 24 years old, Pierre ran for the first time as an NDP candidate in the riding of Manicouagan. He ran a small but well-noticed campaign, and achieved one of the NDP’s best results in Québec.
In 1998, at age 26, he became director of the Table nationale des Corporations de développement communautaire du Québec (TNCDC). CDCs are networks of community groups that serve many functions: services to members, lobbying and community and local development. Pierre had a considerable impact on the structuring and development of the TNCDC. He led the TNCDC with competence, working at once on organization, internal and external communications, and services to members. He also coordinated a major research project on the community sector.
He remained in this position until 2003. During this time, he also served in various positions on the boards of directors of other organizations: the Comité aviseur de l’action communautaire autonome (1998-2002), the Carrefour québécois de développement local (2000-2002) and the Chantier de l’économie sociale (2001-2002). He would become an increasingly credible spokesperson on issues related to community action, community development, partnerships, social economy and local development.
In 2000, Pierre was appointed Associate President of the New Democratic Party of Canada, a position to which he was then elected in 2001 and again in 2003, and which he held until 2006.
In 2002 at the age of 29, Pierre entered the race for the leadership of the New Democratic Party, following the resignation of Alexa McDonough. He was the first francophone Québécois to run for the NDP leadership, leading a small campaign that did not go unnoticed. His major impact, however, was his speech at the 2003 Convention, a speech that garnered wide-spread attention from commentators for its remarkable quality. Michel Vastel called him “the revelation of the NDP” and Chantal Hébert stated that he was “one of the great hopes of Canadian politics.” Here are a few press clippings.
Pierre continued his involvement in the NDP as a candidate in Manicouagan in 2004 and again in 2006.
In February 2005, he went to work on Parliament Hill in Ottawa as a special advisor on Québec to NDP leader Jack Layton. For the next several years, Pierre would play a pivotal role in the development of the NDP in Québec. He would be the primary author of the Sherbrooke Declaration, a document that would play a central role in the renewal of the NDP’s vision for Québec and on federal-provincial relations. From 2003 to 2008, Pierre Ducasse would be an architect in rebuilding the NDP in Quebec, which would lead to the “Orange Crush” a few years later.
In 2006, he created a website for reflection on economic democracy, called Economic Democracy for the Americas (Ecodema) and began writing a book on the topic.
He would again be a candidate for the NDP in the 2008 election, this time in the riding of Hull-Aylmer, where he received 20% of the vote.
A left-wing catholic, he is one of the founding members of the NDP’s Faith and Social Justice Commission, of which he has been secretary-treasurer since 2009.
From 2008 to 2009, he continued his work for the NDP’s caucus services, but wearing another hat, working in research and policy development. He specialized, among other things, in issues related to consumer rights. During this time he was also the main person involved in drafting and structuring the NDP’s policy book.
With his interest in consumer rights issues, Pierre has been on the Board of Directors of the ACEF de l’Outaouais, a consumer advocacy and education group, between 2008 and 2014 and was its president for three years.
Pierre has been working for the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) since 2010, in the communications branch. He handles various files, such as energy, environment, health, literacy and post-secondary education.
Since 2005, Pierre has been working on an educational board game that simulates an election campaign. A version currently exists in French.
Pierre has been married since 2008 and is the father of a little boy born in 2010.
He is co-author, with Tom Vouloumanos, of a book on economic democracy. For now, Pour une économie démocratique, is only available in French.