Marcel Masse, former Conservative cabinet minister, dead at 78

Former Progressive Conservative cabinet minister and Quebec MP Marcel Masse died on Monday, surrounded by his family.

Launched his career in 1960s in Quebec politics, federally in 1980s

Marcel Masse, former Progressive Conservative cabinet minister, has died at age 78. (Radio-Canada)

Marcel Masse, a former Progressive Conservative cabinet minister and MP from Quebec, has died.

Masse died on Monday afternoon, surrounded by his family. 

He was 78 years old.

Masse left his mark on Quebec and Canadian politics, playing an active role from the 1960s to the 1990s.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered his condolences on Twitter.

"My condolences to the friends and family of Marcel Masse. He was devoted to serving his fellow citizens," Harper tweeted.

Masse launched his career in provincial politics in 1966, when he was elected as a member of the Quebec National Assembly for the riding of Montcalm under the Union Nationale.

He held several cabinet posts in the Quebec governments of Daniel Johnson and Jean-Jacques Bertrand in the late1960s and early '70s.

In the '70s and '80s, he entered the private sector, sitting as the vice-president of Éconsult, and then vice-president of marketing and development for Lavalin Inc.

In the 1984 federal election, Masse was elected under the Progressive Conservative Party banner for Frontenac and served in Prime Minister Brian Mulroney's cabinet.

Masse also served as federal communications minister, and held the portfolios of defence, energy, mines and resources.

In 1995, he was named an officer of the Order of Quebec.