Francine Lalonde, retired Bloc MP, dies of cancer at 73

Former Bloc Québécois MP Francine Lalonde died Thursday evening after a seven year battle with bone cancer. She was 73.

Elected to House of Commons in 1993, retired in 2011

Bloc MP Francine Lalonde receives a standing ovation as she stands to question the government in 2009. (Adrian Wyld/CP)

Former Bloc Quebecois MP Francine Lalonde died Thursday evening after a seven-year battle with incurable bone cancer. She was 73.

Lalonde stepped away from politics in 2011 after announcing a recurrence of bone cancer. She had represented the constituencies of Mercier and La-Pointe-de-l’Ile in the House of Commons since 1993.

Lalonde made a name for herself in politics after introducing a private member's bill that would allow euthanasia and assisted suicide under strict conditions.

As the BQ's foreign affairs critic, Lalonde was an outspoken opponent of the Conservative government's foreign policy.

Prior to entering the House of Commons, Lalonde served as the provincial Minister for the Status of Women in the Parti Québécois government led by René Lévesque in 1985.

Lalonde entered politics after a long career in Quebec’s union movement, where she was the first woman to hold the post of vice-president for the CSN Labour Federation.

Former Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe said Lalonde never failed to impress him with her contacts among parliamentarians the world over.

“Everyone in the European Parliament knew her. It was extraordinary,” he said.

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