Former New Brunswick premier Ray Frenette dead at 83

Longtime Liberal cabinet minister and former premier Ray Frenette has died at the age of 83.

Frenette was Liberal MLA for the riding of Moncton East for 25 years

Ray Frenette, who became the 28th premier of New Brunswick after Frank McKenna stepped down in 1997, died Friday at the age of 83. (CBC)

Ray Frenette, a longtime Liberal cabinet minister and former premier of New Brunswick, died Friday at the age of 83. 

Premier Brian Gallant expressed his sympathy Saturday in a statement on behalf of the provincial government. 

"Mr. Frenette has been called a giant of New Brunswick politics and for good reason," Gallant said.

"Not only did he hold several prominent cabinet positions in the government of Frank McKenna, but he also served as house leader for that government for a decade. He commanded great respect, not only from his own MLAs but all parties in the house."

Ray Frenette, pictured in 2013 receiving his Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal from then-New Brunswick premier David Alward, has died. (Jacques Poitras/CBC)
Frenettee became the 28th premier of New Brunswick after McKenna stepped down in 1997. He remained premier until Camille Theriault took the post in 1998.

25 years as MLA

He served as an MLA in the legislature for 25 years, representing the riding of Moncton East.

Frenette held a myriad of high-ranking positions in the provincial government. He was minister of Health and  Community Services, appointed as Government House Leader, was Chairman of NB Power, minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and deputy premier along with serving on numerous government committees. 

Gallant said Frenette served as a mentor and advisor to him when he first considered entering public service.  

"He had so much knowledge and his advice was invaluable. He was generous with his advice and so wise," he said.

Frenette is survived by his wife of 60 years, Armande Frenette, daughter, Debra Chouinard and son, Dr. Rémi Frenette, five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his brother and two sisters as well as several nieces and nephews.

Funeral services will be held for Frenette on July 19 at 11 a.m. at St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church in Shediac.