Bernard Landry dead at 81

Former Quebec premier Bernard Landry has died at the age of 81.

The former leader and longtime stalwart of the Parti Québécois governed from 2001 to 2003 until he was defeated by the Quebec Liberals under the leadership of Jean Charest. He was also leader of the left-leaning separatist party from 2001 to 2005 after Lucien Bouchard resigned.

Landry’s death was confirmed Tuesday afternoon.

“My heart is broken by the news of the death of Premier Landry,” said PQ interim leader Pascal Bérubé on Twitter. “On behalf of the Parti Québécois, I offer my sincerest condolences to his family, his friends and to to all Quebec sovereigntists.”

PQ MNA Catherine Fournier said Landry’s legacy “will continue to inspire the next generation.”

“A country, we will do it thanks to your contribution,” she said on social media. “Rest assured that we will carry the torch high up.”

Régis Labeaume, the mayor of Quebec City, described the former premier’s death as a “huge loss for Quebec.”

“Mr. Landry made a mark on the Quebec nation, his contribution has been outstanding and he has always promoted our language, our culture and our identity,” he said in a statement.

An ardent sovereigntist from the beginning

An ardent sovereigntist, Landry was a student activist in the 1960s. He obtained a law degree from the Université de Montréal before he went on to study economics and finance at the l’Institut d’études politiques de Paris.

The Saint-Jacques native was only 27 when PQ founder René Lévesque drew him into the sphere of Quebec politics. He ran unsuccessfully in 1970 and 1973 under the party banner, but he finally secured a seat in the Fabre riding in 1976.

During his time with the party, Landry held several prominent positions. He served as deputy premier of Quebec from 1994 to 2001 before he took over from Bouchard.

Former Quebec premier Bernard Landry died at 81.

After the PQ was defeated in the 2003 provincial election, Landry stayed on as leader of the party until he left politics in 2005.

The last time Landry was seen in public was last May 21, when he was participated in National Patriots’ Day activities.

He leaves behind his wife Chantal Renaud and his three children, Julie, Philippe and Pascale.

— With files from The Canadian Press

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