Canadian MP Benoit Sauvageau dies in car crash

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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Bloc Quebecois Member of Parliament Benoit Sauvageau was killed in an automobile accident on Monday morning after his vehicle hit a tow truck at the side of a road in his Montreal constituency.

Sauvageau, 42, had been an MP since 1993 and represented the riding of Repentigny at the time of his death.

Bloc Québécois (BQ) Leader Gilles Duceppe, speaking in Quebec City, remembered Sauvageau as a hard-working representative who was widely respected "not only in the sovereigntist camp but by his adversaries who always recognized him for his honesty and his determination."

"I think he was a very good member of Parliament, a very good sovereigntist," added Duceppe.

Visibly shaken by the news, Duceppe said: "It's awful, at 42 with four children (daughters) between the ages of five and 15, it's not right."

Former Quebec Premier Lucien Bouchard, who led the BQ when Sauvageau was first elected, told Radio Canada: "It's a tragedy. It's unbelievable that he died like that."

"He is a man who was engaged in political fights but he did it correctly, with nobility and idealism and a lot of respect for others, even his adversaries," said Bouchard.

Sauvageau was a history professor before entering politics. As an MP he was the Bloc's spokesperson on public accounts and the treasury board and was also the party's critic responsible for the Official Languages Act and the rights of Francophones outside of Quebec.

"On behalf of the Liberal Party of Canada and our Parliamentary caucus, I would like to express my deepest sadness and regret at the news of the death of Benoît Sauvageau in a tragic car accident in Repentigny this afternoon," said interim Liberal leader Bill Graham.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the prayers and thoughts of all Parliamentarians are with Sauvageau's loved ones at this difficult time.