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Jean Lapierre, Canadian politician and broadcaster, dies in plane crash

By Ed Adamczyk
Jean Lapierre, Canadian politician and broadcaster, dies in plane crash
Canadian politician and broadcaster Jean Lapierre was among seven people to diee Tuesday in a plane crash. Photo courtesy of Bloc Quebecois

MONTREAL, March 30 (UPI) -- Jean Lapierre, political broadcaster and former Canadian cabinet minister, was among five members of his family killed in a plane crash in Quebec.

Lapierre, 59, was on his way to Iles-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec, in the Gulf of St. Lawrence on Tuesday to attend the funeral of his father, 83, when the chartered aircraft, a twin-engine turboprop, crashed while attempting to land in bad weather in the remote islands. Lapierre, his wife, sister, two brothers and two pilots died.

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He was regarded as a political operative for Quebec, Canada's French-speaking province, with a craving for greater autonomy within the government and occasional demands for separation and sovereignty. First elected to Parliament in 1984, Lapierre was among a group of young Liberal Party standouts known as the "Rat Pack."

He surprised Canada when he left the Liberals in 1990 to help form the Bloc Quebecois, a new party dedicated to Quebec's interests in the national Parliament.

"I never saw myself as a separatist," Lapierre said at the time. "I saw myself as somebody who wanted to bring about a level playing field for Quebec."

Retiring from elected politics in 1992 he became a media commentator. Lapierre returned to politics and the Liberal Party in 2004, and was Canada's transportation minister in Prime Minister Paul Martin's administration. By 2006 he returned to broadcasting, co-hosting a political talk show for French-language TVA channel.

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