“He really helped move that word reconciliation into real action. And it was demonstrated in his life’s work,” Bellegarde told Global News.
“And he’s left a long legacy that we can build upon.”
Bellegarde was one of several dignitaries who spoke to approximately 800 people at the University of Saskatchewan’s Merlis Belsher Place. He, along with Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, former premier Roy Romanow and others, eulogized Molloy, who died on July 2 of pancreatic cancer at the age of 78.
The audience included Gov. Gen. Julie Payette, federal Public Safety Minister and Regina MP Ralph Goodale and several former premiers of other provinces.
Speaking to the media after the service ended, Moe said that Molloy was known as someone who was dedicated to his community, province and country, and as someone who brought everyone together.
“Molloy always put his nation first and understood that despite differences of opinion that we might have across this great nation, that if you have everyone in the room and form that relationship and talk through our differences you can always come to a point of agreement,” Moe said.
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The memorial heard that Molloy was especially proud of his work with Indigenous people.
Ambassador Dr. Joseph Gosnell of the Nisga’a First Nation said that Molloy was a “formidable” opponent in negotiations.
Foremost among his accomplishments he is remembered for his role as chief federal negotiator of Canada. In that role, he negotiated a number of agreements between the federal government and Indigenous people, notably the creation of the province of Nunavut and the Nisga’a Treaty, which facilitated self-governance in the Nisga’a First Nation.
For his work he was given a rare honour — a First Nations name, which means ‘flying eagle man.’
Bellegarde said that it was given to him after his cancer diagnosis.
In addition to acting as a negotiator, he was also a dedicated community member, and was chancellor of the University of Saskatchewan from 2001 until 2007. He was later named Chancellor Emeritus and was also became the lieutenant governor of Saskatchewan — the Queen’s representative in the province — in March 2018.
For his work he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada, invested into Saskatchewan’s Order of Merit and a given a buffalo blanket, among other awards.
Several of the awards, and a Saskatchewan flag, lay on his coffin during the memorial and were given to the family after the final speaker.
After Molloy’s coffin was carried out of the arena by RCMP pallbearers and loaded into a hearse, the RCAF performed two flyovers.
During the second, one of the four jets broke formation and climbed straight up, symbolizing Molloy’s departure from the province and his family.