November 1, 2017 9:49 pm
Updated: November 1, 2017 10:29 pm

Former Quebec premiers, PQ leader commemorate 30th anniversary of René Lévesque’s death

ABOVE: Former Quebec premiers and leaders of the Parti Québécois gathered in Montreal on the 30th anniversary of René Lévesque’s death. Global’s Matt Grillo reports.

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Former Quebec premiers and leaders of the Parti Québécois gathered in Montreal on the 30th anniversary of René Lévesque’s death.

Lévesque, a former Quebec premier and co-founder of the Parti Québécois, passed away on Nov. 1, 1987.

On Wednesday, he was remembered fondly.

“He had an extraordinary ability to provoke affection in large numbers of people,” Graham Fraser, former Canadian commissioner of official languages, said.

Lévesque left the Liberal Party and eventually helped create the Parti Québécois.

He played a central role in Quebec’s first referendum in 1980.

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“I felt this was someone real,” Lucien Bouchard, former Quebec premier, said. “He was genuine. René Lévesque was genuine.”

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Many remembered the legacy he left in the province even after he was gone.

“Think about the fact that in 1995, we had this referendum where about 95 per cent of Quebecers voted,” Bouchard said.

READ MORE: Reaching out to anglophones ‘now a given’ for Parti Québécois

While some still celebrate decisions he made.

“He could do things that people didn’t think were possible,” Jean-François Lisée, Parti Québécois leader, said. “Nationalizing Hydro was probably the most important single decision for the economy of Quebec.”

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