MONTREAL - Michel Leduc, who served as mayor of Lasalle between 1983 and 2001, has died at the age of 71.

In his long career, Leduc served many influential roles, chairing the Conference of Montreal Suburban Mayors and serving as Vice-Chairman of the MUCTC in the 1980s.

He was admired by some environmentalists, as his was the first Montreal municipality to start curbside recycling.

Leduc, a medical doctor by profession, beat 12-year-incumbent mayor Gerry Raymond by a landslide 5,000 vote margin in 1983, promising sweeping change.

In his first speech after being elected, Leduc quoted the old country song, saying “it’s hard to be humble,” a statement which some opponents considered indicative of his later comportment.

Leduc was re-elected in 1987, beating challenger Robert Cordner by about 1,600 votes and was given a third mandate with a 1,000 vote edge over Paul Laurendeau in 1991.

He then won with a healthier 4,000 vote margin in 1995 but in 1999 only managed to squeeze out a narrow 42 vote majority over his old nemesis Robert Cordner.

Cordner denounced Leduc as arrogant, a description that Leduc confessed to in a 1991 interview.

In response, Leduc was quoted as inviting Cordner to “suck on an egg.”

Leduc was known for working with other island mayors and tried to form a union with Verdun in the mid-80s and later led an initiative to unite LaSalle with Lachine in 2000, which failed to go through.

After being forced to merge with Montreal, LaSalle residents opted to remain a borough rather than return to its former city status.

Leduc, an opponent of the municipal merger, retired from politics when that happened.

Leduc, who lived in Valleyfield at the time of his death Friday, is survived by his wife and two sons.

His funeral will take place Saturday, September 22 at the Immaculate Conception Bellerive Church in Valleyfield. 

LaSalle is a borough of 75,000 residents, roughly divided between English and French speakers, with a significant allophone and immigrant populations.