Lise Payette, Quebec politician and journalist, dead at 87

Former PQ cabinet minister in the Levesque government Lise Payette at a conference at the Institut du Nouveau Monde in Laval, Que., August 15, 2015. Payette passed away at the age of 87 on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018. Mario Beauregard/The Canadian Press

Lise Payette, who was a Quebec journalist, writer, businesswoman, broadcaster, politician and feminist has died.

She passed away Wednesday evening at the age of 87.

Born in Verdun, Payette began her career as a journalist in the 1950s and made the jump to politics in the 1970s.

She was elected to the national assembly in the riding of Dorion under the Parti Québécois (PQ) banner and occupied various ministerial posts from 1976 to 1981.

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She fought tirelessly for causes close to her heart, including women’s equality and Quebec sovereignty.

She is credited with creating Quebec’s automobile insurance board, the SAAQ, and the appearance of Quebec’s motto “Je me souviens” or “I remember” on license plates.

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Payette is also responsible for a revision to Quebec’s Civil Code which ensures Quebec women can keep their own name after marriage.

As news of her death spread Thursday, tributes started pouring in on social media.

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard took to Twitter to express his condolences to family and friends and noted how Payette had helped advance women’s rights in Quebec.

PQ Leader Jean-François Lisée praised her many abilities, saying Payette fought for consumer rights and “paved the way for generations of women seeking freedom and equality.”

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Coalition Avenir Québec Leader François Legault also expressed his sadness and extended his condolences.

“She was a great feminist,” he tweeted.

Québec Solidaire co-spokesperson Manon Massé echoed the sentiment, calling her a builder who as a minister under René Lévesque paved the way for women. Massé also referred to Payette as stubborn, but out of necessity.

The province’s Council on the Status of Women also expressed sadness at Payette’s passing.

“Lise Payette was a great feminist, she made history in Quebec through her remarkable contribution to equality issues in our society,” said president Louise Cordeau.

Details of Payette’s funeral have yet to be announced.

READ MORE: What is a feminist? Quebec’s national assembly debates

— With files from the Canadian Press

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