Tom Mulcair was born in Ottawa on October 24th, 1954. He is the second oldest of ten children. He was raised in Laval, North of Montreal.
At Laval Catholic High School he became actively involved, through a school group, as a volunteer in many social and community causes.
He completed his studies in Social Sciences at Vanier College before attending law school at McGill University. He holds degrees in Civil Law (B.C.L.) and in Common Law (LL.B).
In 1975-1976, the final year of the B.C.L. program, he was elected President of the Law Students Association and sat on the council of the McGill Student Union.
In 1976 he and Catherine Pinhas were married and Tom returned to McGill to complete his second degree.
Catherine and Tom moved to Québec City in 1978 with their son Matthew. Tom worked first in the Legislative Affairs branch of the Justice Ministry and later in the Legal Affairs Directorate of the Conseil de la langue francaise.
During his time at the Conseil de la langue française, Tom served as the union delegate and later was elected the Secrétaire de section of the (SPGQ) Syndicat des Professionnels et Professionnelles du Gouvernement du Québec (The Union of Québec Government Professional Employees).
Their son Greg was born in Québec City. In 1983, the family moved back to Montreal where Tom had accepted the position of Director of Legal Affairs at Alliance Québec.
In 1985, he began a private law practice and was named the reviser of the statutes of Manitoba following the Supreme Court ruling in the Manitoba reference case. He worked regularly in Winnipeg over the next two years.
In 1986, his political mentor Claude Ryan named him Commissioner on the Commission d'Appel sur la langue d'enseignement.
At the end of 1987, Mr. Ryan proposed that Tom be named President of the Office des Profession du Québec; a position he held until 1993.
The mandate of the Office des Professions is public protection in matters of professional services. As President, Tom introduced wide-ranging reforms to make disciplinary hearings more transparent and successfully led a major effort to have cases of alleged sexual abuse of patients dealt with decisively (click here for more).
At the time of his appointment to the Office des Professions he had been serving as President of the English speaking Catholic Council.
During his tenure at the Office des Professions, he became the first Canadian elected to the Board of Directors of the Council on Licensure Enforcement and Regulation; then an emanation of the Council of State Governments of the U.S.
The work done by the Office des Professions on the Free Trade in services portion of the NAFTA had led to increased contacts with the U.S. on these issues. He delivered many addresses to U.S. audiences on the subject and has written several articles on regulating professions in the Public Interest.
In early 1994, upon the resignation of the sitting member of the National Assembly for Chomedey, Lise Bacon, the Québec Liberal Party sought Tom's candidacy. His run in the by-election turned into a race in the general election that was soon called. On September 12th, 1994 he was elected The Member of the National Assembly for Chomedey, his old home-town in Laval.
He was re-elected in 1998 and served as Deputy House-Leader of the opposition. He was successively Justice Critic and Industry Critic.
In 2003 he was elected provincially for the third time and named to Cabinet as Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks.
At the time of his appointment to Cabinet he had been serving on several volunteer boards including The Montreal Oral School for the Deaf, Operation Enfant Soleil and the Saint-Patrick's Society.
Tom served as Minister until 2006. While minister, Tom took a consistently tough stand on enforcement of environment laws and regulations. He also introduced wide-ranging legislation on sustainable development and carried out a 20 city tour of Québec on the issue.
The legislation is saluted as ground-breaking and included an amendment to Québec's Human Rights Charter that created the right to live in a clean environment.
In 2006, he refused to sign an order-in-council that would have transferred lands in Mont-Orford Provincial park to private developers so that they could build condominiums near a ski hill.
An attempt was made to shuffle Tom to another portfolio but he resigned on a question of principle and served out the rest of his term as an MNA. He did not run in the 2007 Québec General Election.
In September 2006, Jack Layton invited him to Québec City to address delegates at the NDP's convention on the subject of Sustainable Development. Jack and Tom remained in contact and Tom attended Jack's speech against the War in Afghanistan at the University of Montreal.
Jack, his wife Olivia Chow, Tom and Catherine had a meeting and supper together at a restaurant in 2007 at which Jack laid out his vision of a truly National Social Democratic movement with roots in and support from all regions of Canada, including Québec – something that had eluded all NDP Leaders prior to Jack.
In early 2007, Jack Layton named Tom Mulcair his Quebec Lieutenant. After Tom's victory in the Liberal stronghold of Outremont, he also named him Co-Deputy Leader of the NDP.
Jack and Tom worked tirelessly with an incredible Québec team of volunteers and Party workers to create a spectacular breakthrough in the province on May 2, 2011.