Former justice minister Herbert Marx remembered as a principled man
“It’s a sad day, but it’s also a day to celebrate his legacy and what he contributed,” Parisella said about Marx’s death.
Parisella added as a politician Marx served his riding, which was predominantly Jewish, very well.
“He brought Jewish people back to the polls after they felt alienated by Bill 22,” Parisella said.
Bill 22, adopted in 1974 by a Bourassa-led government, was the first to give French priority status over English in Quebec.
Parisella said the fact Marx resigned should not serve as his legacy. He added that as justice minister Marx worked to have Quebec’s judges deliver tougher sentences for men who assaulted their spouses.
“He didn’t leave by slamming the door,” Parisella said. “It was a very difficult decision for him and Bourassa understood it completely. It was a departure based on principle. I do recall that he had a very progressive agenda and cared very much about people in need.”
Lawrence Bergman, MNA for D’Arcy-McGee from 1994 to 2014, described Marx as a good friend, a mentor and someone he could count on for advice.
“He was loved by the people,” Bergman said. “I spent 20 years in the riding and I can say that he was loved by his (former) constituents.”
Bergman agreed with Parisella that Marx’s legacy should not only be that he resigned from the Bourassa government, even if it was a matter of principle.
“His life was about much more than that,” Bergman said. “He had an outstanding career as a professor, as an MNA and as justice minister.
“He didn’t take himself too seriously,” Bergman added. “He grew up in modest means and he understood the mentality of the people born here and those who came here. He knew there was equal opportunity out there and he wanted people to take advantage of the opportunity our wonderful province has to offer.”
Fo Niemi, executive director of the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations, posted a message on Facebook recalling how Marx once offered to donate an air conditioner because he supported the group’s work. Niemi described Marx as “a great Liberal, a great Quebecer and Montrealer, and simply a great and decent human being.”
Niemi added: “He embodied the finest principles and values of justice, liberalism and, of course, his Jewish faith. As justice minister, he was instrumental in promoting civil rights for racial minorities, women and the poor.”
Source: The Gazette