Pierre S. Pettigrew was born in Quebec City
He studied at the UQTR, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy in 1972, and went on to Oxford University, receiving a Masters in Philosophy in international relations in 1976.
From 1976 to 1978, Pettigrew was director of the NATO Assembly's Political Committee in Brussels. In 1980, he was part of Quebec's Referendum, on the No side of the vote, then from 1981 to 1984 served as Foreign Policy Advisor to Pierre Elliott Trudeau, who was at that time Canada's Prime Minister.
From 1985 to 1995, Pettigrew was vice-president of an international business consulting firm. In 1994, he co-chaired Canada's first National Forum on International Relations. In 1996, he joined the Canadian government as the Minister for International Cooperation, and also took on the post of and Minister responsible for La Francophonie. In 1996, he was elected as an MP in the Montreal area, and re-elected in 1997. From 1996 to 1999, he was Minister of Human Resources Development, after which he became Minister for International Trade, and has been the chairperson for meetings of the FTAA and the World Trade Organization. It is generally believed that it will be Pettigrew who will take over the leadership of Québec's Liberal Party, when the position becomes available.
He is well-known for his stylish locks, a "thick mane of salt-and-pepper hair, longish and gelled", classy dress, and his schmoozing. As well as living in Canada, Pettigrew also has an apartment in the Paris 18th district.
In 1999, he wrote the book, The New Politics of Confidence.