Mourners gather at funeral for Victor Goldbloom
Mourners gathered to remember Victor Goldbloom, a pediatrician and community leader, at a funeral ceremony on Friday.
Goldbloom was remembered as a man who always saw an opportunity to grow and show what tolerance can accomplish.
Among those who attended the ceremony at Westmount’s Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom were Mayor Denis Coderre, former MNA for D’Arcy-McGee Lawrence Bergman and several current Quebec cabinet ministers.
"Victor was a man of the people. A man of the Jewish community and the entire community," said Mark Mendelson, CEO of the Canadian Associates of Ben-Gurion University.
Goldbloom initially followed in his father's footsteps as a pediatrician and entered politics in 1966, winning a seat in the National Assembly representing D’Arcy-McGee. He became Quebec’s first Jewish cabinet member under Robert Bourassa as Minister for the Environment and later served as Minister for Municipal Affairs and Minister responsible for preparations for the 1976 Olympics.
He served as Canada’s Commissioner of Official Languages between 1991 and 1999, a post he described as the biggest challenge of his career.
"My strongest memory of Victor Goldbloom was his strength on standing up to language issues and never trying to create barriers, always trying to build bridges. That was his nature," said NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair.
Goldbloom's calm presence and wise words made a lasting impression on rookie MNA Geoff Kelley after the 1995 referendum.
“It was very hard to pick up the pieces after that referendum campaign, and Victor Goldbloom came down and, not that he was checking up on us, but … he came and [emphasized] the positive,” he said.
Premier Philippe Couillard is in Washington but passed on his condolences to the family.
Goldbloom’s passing came as a surprise to many – he was active until the end, recently speaking out against Bill 86, the school reform bill.