Tuesday 27 September 2016

Quebec plane crash kills seven including politician Jean Lapierre

Published 30/03/2016 | 04:51

Jean Lapierre and his wife Nicole Beaulieu, pictured in 2004 - they both died along with two of his brothers and one of his sisters in a plane crash in Quebec (The Canadian Press/AP)
Jean Lapierre and his wife Nicole Beaulieu, pictured in 2004 - they both died along with two of his brothers and one of his sisters in a plane crash in Quebec (The Canadian Press/AP)
The plane crash in Quebec killed seven people (The Canadian Press/AP)

A small plane crashed off an island in eastern Quebec, killing seven people, including former cabinet minister Jean Lapierre.

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His wife, two of his brothers and one of his sisters also died when their plane crashed on Tuesday. They were travelling to the Iles-de-la-Madeleine after the recent death of Mr Lapierre's father.

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau said he was "shaken by the sudden death" of Mr Lapierre and called it a great loss to the political world.

Former Canadian PM Paul Martin called Mr Lapierre, who served as his transport minister, a wonderful man who understood the issues and loved people.

The bilingual Mr Lapierre, 59, was much sought-after as a political commentator in English and French.

The plane was a Mitsubishi turboprop and is believed to have belonged to a private company. It had taken off from the St-Hubert regional airport south of Montreal earlier in the morning.

"The crash took place in a field on approach to the airport," said Quebec provincial police Sgt Daniel Thibodeau, who described the weather as "not ideal" for flying.

The plane crashed close to the airport in the Iles-de-la-Madeleine. The cause was not immediately known.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is deploying a team of investigators.

Environment Canada had issued an alert for strong winds in the region.

Mr Lapierre was elected to Canada's parliament as a federalist Liberal in 1979, representing a Quebec district.

He briefly served as youth and amateur sports minister in a short-lived government in 1984. At that time, he was just 28, the youngest cabinet minister ever appointed to that point.

He co-chaired Mr Martin's campaign for the Liberal leadership in 1990, and then became a founding member of the separatist Bloc Quebecois, although he later said he was never really a supporter of an independent Quebec.

He quit federal politics in 1992 but returned after Mr Martin became Liberal leader in late 2003. He served as transport minister between 2004 and 2006.

He is survived by his two children, Marie-Anne and Jean-Michel.

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