Longtime Quebec Liberal John Ciaccia dies at 85 – CP

by ahnationtalk on August 8, 201861 Views

Source: The Canadian Press
Aug 8, 2018 

MONTREAL _ Longtime Quebec Liberal John Ciaccia, who was native affairs minister during the explosive Oka Crisis in 1990, has died.

Ciaccia passed away Tuesday in Beaconsfield, Que., at the age of 85.

News of his death was first reported by Cittadino Canadese, an Italian-Canadian publication.

Premier Philippe Couillard has taken to Twitter to pay tribute to Ciaccia, who was first elected in 1973 in Mont-Royal and won the riding five more times before bowing out prior to the 1998 election.

The federalist politician was an influential minister under Liberal premiers Robert Bourassa and Daniel Johnson Jr., holding various portfolios over the years.

Ciaccia was born in Jelsi in Italy in 1933 and moved to Canada when he was just four years old. He studied at McGill University and was admitted to the Quebec bar in 1957. He practised law for a dozen years before becoming a senior federal civil servant in 1971.

Not long after he was first elected, Ciaccia was suspended from the Liberal caucus for nearly two months in 1974 _ the year Bourassa government passed Bill 22 enshrining French as the official language of Quebec.

In July of that year, Ciaccia and fellow Liberal George Springate joined the Opposition and voted against the bill, which passed by a 92-10 margin.

Ciaccia was known for his involvement in native affairs: in 1975, he was Bourassa’s representative in the negotiations for what would become known as the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement signed with the Cree and the Inuit.

A decade after the Oka Crisis, Ciaccia published a personal memoir called “The Oka Crisis : A Mirror of the Soul.”

In 2015, he published a book describing what drew him into politics: “Call Me Giambattista: A Personal and Political Journey.”

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