Mauril Bélanger: Ontario Francophones have lost an important ally
Toronto, August 17, 2016 – François Boileau, the French Language Services Commissioner of Ontario, joins the Francophone community in mourning the Hon. Mauril Bélanger and takes this opportunity to salute the enormous legacy he leaves. With his death last night, following a long battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, a leading light in the Franco-Ontarian community has gone out.
“Mr. Bélanger’s dedication to the Francophone community has left an indelible mark on its history in Ontario and in all of Canada,” said Mr. Boileau, the French Language Services Commissioner. “Mauril was more than a politician. The legacy he leaves, after devoting his entire career to advocacy for the rights of official language minority communities, is an important one. I would like to express my tremendous gratitude for all of his hard work. I have no doubt that his contributions will continue to benefit the people of Ontario,” Commissioner Boileau added.
In spite of his illness, his determination to continue advocating for the causes he held dear never waned. His commitment and tenacity as a passionate advocate for linguistic duality in Canada made it possible for him always to see his causes through to the finish, no matter the obstacles. His dynamism and dedication to the Francophone community won him recognition from many sides, and included the Bernard Grandmaître award and the rank of Commander of the Order of the Pleiades.
At this sad time, the entire staff of the Office of the French Language Services Commissioner would like to offer its sincerest condolences to the family and close friends of Mauril Bélanger.
- Mauril Bélanger entered federal politics in 1995 as a Liberal member of Parliament in the riding of Ottawa—Vanier, succeeding Jean-Robert Gauthier after his appointment to the Senate.
- From 1997 to 2002, Mr. Bélanger worked to prevent the closure of the Montfort Hospital, the only health care facility in Ontario to offer university-level training in French.
- Mauril Bélanger was appointed as parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage by Jean Chrétien and served in that position from 1998 to 2000.
- The creation of the Unique FM radio station and expansion of Ottawa’s La Nouvelle Scène theatre were made possible through the sustained support of Mauril Bélanger.
- In 2010, he was elected as Vice-Chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Official Languages.
- In 2003, he became the Co-founder of the Canada-Africa Parliamentary Association, whose purpose is to encourage exchanges between African and Canadian parliamentarians.
- He joined Paul Martin’s cabinet as chief government whip (until the 2004 election) and deputy leader of the government (until the 2006 election).
- In 2004, Mr. Bélanger was promoted to the position of Minister responsible for Official Languages, Minister responsible for Democratic Reform and Associate Minister of National Defence.
The Office of the French Language Services Commissioner reports directly to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Its principal mandate is to ensure compliance with the French Language Services Act in the delivery of government services.
Lead, Strategic Communications
Office of the French Language Services Commissioner
Telephone: (416) 906-7021 or 1-866-246-5262 (toll free)
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