MP Mauril Bélanger has passed away at age 61 after a battle with ALS / Lou Gehrig’s disease. Appropriately, we heard the news tonight via Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Mauril Bélanger has passed away. He was a great friend, tireless MP and brave fighter. The entire Parliamentary family mourns his loss.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) August 17, 2016
Mauril Bélanger est décédé. Toute la famille parlementaire pleure ce grand ami, ce député infatigable et ce courageux combattant.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) August 17, 2016
The Prime Minister released a statement later Tuesday evening:
“I was incredibly saddened to learn today of the death of my friend and colleague Mauril Bélanger. On behalf of all Canadians, Sophie and I offer our deepest condolences to his family, friends, constituents, and many, many admirers.
“Mauril served the people of Ottawa-Vanier for over 20 years, and was a tireless advocate of francophone rights, national unity, and a fair and just society for all.
“For his efforts, Mauril was given the Commandeur de l’Ordre de la Pléïade (an order of La Francophonie), named Officer of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary, and received the l’Ordre national Grand-Croix ‘Honneur et Mérite’ from Haiti.
“Mauril held many positions in Cabinet over the years, including Deputy House Leader and Government Whip. Despite being very sick towards the end of his life, Mauril continued to serve Canadians with great dignity, courage, and strength.
“A politician universally respected by parliamentarians of all parties, he was named Honorary Speaker of the House of Commons by unanimous consent in December 2015.
“Mauril’s immense contributions to our country will be honoured and remembered. We are all the poorer for his passing.
“Goodbye my friend.”
Belanger was first elected as MP for Ottawa-Vanier in 1995. Condolences have been pouring in tonight from friends, colleagues and constituents.
Hommage à Mauril Bélanger / Homage to Mauril Bélanger https://t.co/egH6CivSK9
— Catherine Bélanger (@CEBHK) July 17, 2016
Mauril Bélanger was was an exceptional MP.His brave battle with ALS taught us about grace and courage. My thoughts are with Catherine. RIP
— Rodger Cuzner (@RodgerCuzner) August 17, 2016
A man who's illness began with the loss of his voice will leave with us an echo that will be heard for a long, long time. #Mauril
— Mark Taylor (@Go_Taylor) August 17, 2016
Very sad to hear of Mauril Belanger's passing. I will be keeping the Belanger family in my thoughts during this difficult time.
— Bob Chiarelli (@Bob_Chiarelli) August 17, 2016
Mauril Belanger a genuinely nice person and model of selfless public service to the end. RIP. #cdnpoli
— Greg Weston (@GregWeston30) August 17, 2016
Goodbye to my dear friend, Mauril Bélanger. He served with devotion, stayed true to his beliefs and taught us all about courage and dignity.
— Geoff Regan (@geoffregan) August 17, 2016
Took this picture of Mauril Belanger from 1st row in House as he entered as Speaker. Saddened to hear of his passing pic.twitter.com/0AgTrCPDjV
— John Brassard (@JohnBrassardCPC) August 17, 2016
— Tim Tierney (@TimTierney) August 17, 2016
— Catherine McKenna (@cathmckenna) August 17, 2016
Rest in peace Mauril. Thoughts and prayers are with Catherine. https://t.co/Fiv4hhuqVw
— Yasir Naqvi (@Yasir_Naqvi) August 17, 2016
Mes sincères condoléances à la famille de Mauril Bélanger ce soir, qu'elle triste nouvelle. Un homme dévoué à sa communauté nous a quitté…
— Bob Monette (@BobMonette1) August 17, 2016
On a perdu un batailleur pour notre communauté. Mauril c'est donné corps et âme pour les francophones, pour Ottawa et pour les moins nantis.
— Mathieu Fleury (@MathieuFleury) August 17, 2016
RIP Mauril Belanger MP. Pleasure to have worked with him on Project Step. True gentleman/ champion 4 so many causes. You will be so missed.
— David Rattray (@DavidWTRattray) August 17, 2016
ALS is a horrible disease. the worst. Mr. Belanger lived his final months with grace & tremendous courage.
— Sarah McCormack (@sarahmc_photo) August 17, 2016
Those of us who had the privilege of being close to Mauril Belanger knew he didn't have much time. A great man died at 61 from ALS. RIP.
— Jim Munson (@SenatorMunson) August 17, 2016
Ottawa-Vanier has lost a tireless champion; Canada has lost a dedicated MP. I will remember Mauril every time I sing our national anthem.
— Tobi Nussbaum (@tobi_nussbaum) August 17, 2016
— Dominic Giroux (@Dominic_Giroux) August 17, 2016
I was deeply saddened to hear of Mauril Bélanger's passing. My condolences to his family, friends and all those whose lives he touched.
— Jim Watson (@JimWatsonOttawa) August 17, 2016
Very sad. A loss to the city and the country. My thoughts are with the family. https://t.co/aU2icBW3oK
— Catherine McKenney (@cmckenney) August 17, 2016
.@Mauril_Belanger was an example of courage, a man of conviction dedicated to public service. We offer our condolences to family + friends.
— David Johnston (@GGDavidJohnston) August 17, 2016
I first got to know Mauril Belanger through his work @UnitedWayOttawa He was passionate, committed, and tireless. Good man, will be missed.
— (((Martin Sampson))) (@axidntlzionist) August 17, 2016
My heart breaks, just heard about Mauril Belanger – my deepest condolences to Catherine and family so long my friend Au revoir mon ami
— Paul Dewar (@PaulDewar) August 17, 2016
— Alex Munter (@AlexMunterCHEO) August 17, 2016
On January 27, 2016, Belanger introduced a bill in the House of Commons called “An Act to amend the National Anthem Act” The Bill advocated a changing the English lyrics from “True patriot love in all thy sons command” become “True patriot love in all of us command”, to make the anthem gender-neutral. In this video, Belanger delivers a speech in the House of Commons with the help of a computer to vocalize his words.