MONTREAL — A real who’s who of Quebec politics attended Jacques Parizeau’s funeral on Tuesday, with the former premier again being remembered as a key architect in ushering Quebec into the modern era.
Premier Philippe Couillard was joined at the service by six of his predecessors: Pierre Marc Johnson, Daniel Johnson, Lucien Bouchard, Bernard Landry, Jean Charest and Pauline Marois.
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, Parti Quebecois Leader Pierre Karl Peladeau, former governor general Michaelle Jean and revered Quebec singer Gilles Vigneault were others who packed into the Saint-Germain-D’Outremont Church.
Parizeau, who became PQ leader in 1988 and officially stepped down as premier in January 1996, died on June 1 at the age of 84 after a lengthy illness.
While he is remembered nationally as the PQ premier during the 1995 sovereignty referendum that nearly split Quebec from the rest of Canada, the Montreal-born economist has also been hailed for helping to develop modern Quebec in the 1960s by contributing to the nationalization of Hydro-Quebec and the creation of the provincial pension fund manager.
“Even if we had differences from time to time, he was a man for whom I had great admiration,” Marois said before the funeral. “What I remember about him is that he changed the face of Quebec. He belongs in that select group of people who had an enormous influence on Quebec becoming a modern state.
“On a personal level, I had incredible respect for him and I really enjoyed working with him.”
Mulcair called Parizeau a “man of great intellect.”
“He was tough, determined and someone who was very impressive,” the NDP leader said.
“He’s one of the most impressive people I’ve ever met in my political career.”
Couillard has announced the province will honour Parizeau by renaming the Caisse de depot et placement building after him. The Caisse is the province’s giant pension-fund manager.
The funeral was held a few days after thousands paid their respects to Parizeau as his body lay in state in Montreal and Quebec City.
The Canadian Press