MONTREAL — Tributes began pouring in early today for ex-Quebec premier Jacques Parizeau, with former adviser Jean-Francois Lisee saying a “giant has passed away.”
“There is immense grief tonight,” Lisee, now a Parti Quebecois member of the legislature, said on Twitter.
“His ideas light the way for the future.”
Parizeau’s longtime wife, Lisette Lapointe, announced the death on her Facebook page Monday night, saying the sovereigntist icon had passed away after a “titanic fight.”
Longtime Quebec political commentator Josee Legault called Parizeau, 84, “the last of the premiers.”
“May you finally rest in peace,” she said.
Parizeau was a longtime finance minister under Rene Levesque before leaving the PQ in the mid-1980s over his boss’s decision to shelve the sovereignty option.
Parizeau returned as PQ leader in 1988 before becoming premier in the 1994 election and paving the way for the independence referendum a year later that eventually led to his political resignation following the Yes side’s narrow defeat.
Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, one of the student leaders from the 2012 protests, said “Quebec is in mourning. A great statesman has left us.”
Parizeau’s grandson said his grandfather’s teachings will never leave him.
“My grandfather was an incredible man,” said Hadrien Parizeau. “He taught me a lot. The advice he gave me during unforgettable times with him will continue to guide me forever.
The head of a prominent sovereigntist group called Parizeau a man of principle and conviction and a statesman in the true sense of the word.
“Jacques Parizeau was no ordinary politician,” said Maxime Laporte, leader of the Societe Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Montreal.
“He was an extraordinary politician because his motivation was of an extraordinary nature.
“He was without a shadow of a doubt one of the most important builders of modern Quebec.”
Federal Industry Minister James Moore also extended his condolences.
“My sympathies to the Parizeau family,” he said.
The Canadian Press