MONTREAL, March 30, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - It was with great sadness that Sheila and I learned about the passing of our friend Jean Lapierre along with his wife Nicole and other family members. Their loss was shocking, sudden and tragic. To his family and the families of all those taken in this awful accident, we offer our deepest condolences.
Many Canadians knew Jean from his time in politics, and as a political analyst. I am among the lucky few that knew Jean as a treasured friend. We first met when he was a young MP before he came, at that time, Canada's youngest-ever cabinet minister. Politics was a perfect fit for Jean. He had a quick mind for policy, a love of debate and an easy way with people. These same qualities later made him one of the best political analysts of our time.
When I entered Parliament in 1988, Jean was quick to offer his friendship and support. In 1990, I was honoured to have him co-chair my campaign for leadership of the Liberal Party with our friend Iona Campagnola. Years later, when I became prime minister I knew I wanted Jean Lapierre at my side in reaching out to Quebec. I asked him to return to Ottawa and he agreed, taking a seat in Parliament and serving as Minister of Transport. In that capacity, Jean led the way in a number of vital policy initiatives, including serving as champion of the Pacific Gateway in BC and helping to forge new links to Asia.
As Quebec Lieutenant, he helped manage our government and the country through a challenging time with a courageous commitment to accountability and transparency in the conduct of our politics. He was a reformer, willing to take on old ways in service to the public interest. After leaving political office, Jean distinguished himself as one of Quebec's and the country's shrewdest and sharpest political analysts. His counsel was sought and his advice was heeded by leaders at every level.
Jean was a terrific friend, a proud Quebecer and a dedicated Canadian. I will miss him profoundly.
SOURCE The Right Honourable Paul Martin
For further information: Lucie Santoro, tel: 514-982-3911, cell: 514-758-9978