QUEBEC CITY – While he left the Quebec Liberal Party to join the Parti Québécois, Jean-Paul L’Allier has always been a respected community builder, bridging the French and English-speaking communities in Quebec City.
Jean-Paul L’Allier died early Tuesday morning in hospital after a brief sickness.
Residents remember the 77-year-old statesman as a progressive leader – a cultured and open-minded man who worked to move Quebec City forward.
“We’re going to miss him,” said current Quebec City Mayor Régis Labeaume.
“He’s been a great, great mayor of Quebec City.”
Labeaume delivered an emotional speech honouring the life and career of an esteemed politician, but also a personal mentor and friend.
L’Allier’s political career spanned three decades, beginning in 1970 when he was first elected to the National Assembly and became a minister in Robert Bourassa’s Liberal government.
He became mayor in 1989 and was elected twice more before retiring in 2005.
He may be best remembered for spearheading the merger of Quebec City.
“I would say the best gestures that he made was the leadership that he took to amalgamate the cities here and I will say he is the guy who started the amalgamations in the province of Quebec,” said Labeaume.
At the Jeffery Hale community centre, L’Allier is also remembered as an advocate for the English-speaking community.
“He wasn’t afraid of the community. He saw it as an asset,” said executive director Richard Walling.
“He was hopeful that Quebec City would be open to the world.”
Walling said the former mayor saw the value in strong English language services, including the restoration of the Morrin Centre, a cultural centre and English library.
“He created this approach where subsequent mayors have worked with us in the same spirit,” Walling said.
The flags at city hall will remain at half-mast until L’Allier’s funeral.
Details about a state funeral will be made public in the coming days.
© 2016 Shaw Media