Mauril Bélanger remembered as an 'advocate, mentor and friend' by Canadian MPs
MP who spearheaded historic changes to the national anthem dead at 61
Long-serving MP Mauril Bélanger is being remembered as a "formidable fighter," a "great parliamentarian" and a "good man" by public servants of all political stripes.
The Liberal member of Parliament for Ottawa-Vanier has died at age 61 after being diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease.
- Mauril Bélanger, longtime Ottawa-Vanier MP, dies of ALS at 61
- 'The most decent man in politics': friends mourn death of Bélanger
- Bélanger's ALS diagnosis and what you should know about the disease
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Bélanger's death on Twitter, calling him a "tireless MP and a brave fighter."
Mauril Bélanger has passed away. He was a great friend, tireless MP and brave fighter. The entire Parliamentary family mourns his loss.—@JustinTrudeau
.<a href="https://twitter.com/Mauril_Belanger">@Mauril_Belanger</a> was an example of courage, a man of conviction dedicated to public service. We offer our condolences to family + friends.—@GGDavidJohnston
The prime minister later issued a statement offering condolences on behalf of himself, his wife Sophie Grégoire Trudeau and the entire country to Bélanger's "family, friends, constituents, and many, many admirers."
"I was incredibly saddened to learn today of the death of my friend and colleague Mauril Bélanger," Trudeau said. "Mauril's immense contributions to our country will be honoured and remembered. We are all the poorer for his passing.
"Goodbye my friend."
Many of Bélanger's colleagues from both sides of the aisle have spoken out about the MP's legacy.
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair, interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose and Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion have all expressed their condolences and commented on Bélanger's long history of public service.
Saddened to learn of the passing of Mauril Bélanger. Very well-liked and respected colleague. Our condolences to his loved ones.—@ThomasMulcair
Mauril was a friend and a great parliamentarian. I will miss him. He was a good man.—@RonaAmbrose
A formidable fighter gone way too soon. Thank you for everything, <a href="https://twitter.com/Mauril_Belanger">@Mauril_Belanger</a>.—@HonStephaneDion
Many pointed out the significance of Bélanger's last big political battle. On June 15, 2016, his private member's bill to make the national anthem more gender neutral cleared its final hurdle in the House of Commons.
Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, the MP for Ottawa Centre, called his "dedication" to the historic lyric change "inspiring." Trudeau's director of communications Kate Purchase called it "exemplary."
In all of us command! <a href="https://twitter.com/Mauril_Belanger">@Mauril_Belanger</a> your dedication to a gender neutral O'Canada is inspiring. Thank you.<a href="https://t.co/GPFVMfPng1">https://t.co/GPFVMfPng1</a>—@cathmckenna
.<a href="https://twitter.com/Mauril_Belanger">@Mauril_Belanger</a>'s battle for the anthem was exemplary. Let that legacy be a lesson for us all.—@katepurchase
But above all, people remembered Bélanger as a good friend.
So terribly sad. <a href="https://twitter.com/Mauril_Belanger">@Mauril_Belanger</a> was an incredible MP, advocate, mentor and friend. <a href="https://t.co/pWlGDYS5RL">https://t.co/pWlGDYS5RL</a>—@cathmckenna
Devastated to learn of the death of <a href="https://twitter.com/Mauril_Belanger">@Mauril_Belanger</a> a good friend and a great Canadian...—@Baird
A book of condolences has been opened for Bélanger in the Centre Block rotunda on Parliament Hill for MPs and the public wishing to express their sympathies.
Earlier Wednesday Trudeau stopped to pen his own goodbye saying that while Bélanger would be missed, the late Liberal MP would also inspire those he left behind.