Louise Robic, once a powerhouse for the Quebec Liberals and a staunch defender of Canadian unity, has died at the age of 85.
The Montreal native passed away on March 13 and a funeral will be held at a later date in the West Island, according to her family.
As a prolific learner, Robic tackled a variety of subjects in her studies at different institutions, including the Universite du Quebec a Montreal and McGill University. Before joining the political sphere, she worked as a real estate agent and in sales.
When tensions were running high in Canada amid the 1980 referendum on Quebec independence, Robic was a firm believer in federal unity.
Robic is credited with helping organize the Yvette rally in Montreal as part of the backlash against then-Parti Québécois minister Lise Payette having used the schoolbook term to describe submissive women during a speech. Payette claimed Liberal Party leader Claude Ryan was married to an Yvette, but later apologized for the remark.
The Yvette movement, which became a key component of the No campaign, is thought to have shifted the course of the referendum and contributed to the pro-independence side’s defeat.
Afterwards, Robic went on to serve as president of the Quebec Liberal Party from 1982 to 1985 before she was elected an MNA in Montreal’s Bourassa riding. She was re-elected in 1989.
The dedicated politician quickly rose through the ranks, taking on many roles in then-premier Robert Bourassa’s cabinet. She served as provincial health, immigration and finance minister during her 11 years in Quebec’s National Assembly.
After resigning from politics in 1994, Robic served as commissioner of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board from 1997 to 2007.
Aside from her love for politics, Robic devoted her life to serving those around her.
She was the founding president of the West Island Women’s Shelter. The local organization provides services to women and children in situations of domestic violence.
Her dedication was recognized with many awards over the years, including the Jubilee Medal of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 2002.
— With files from the Canadian Press