MONTREAL — Claire Kirkland-Casgrain was described on Saturday as a woman of many firsts, both during her life and after.
With a morning service in Montreal, the woman who was Quebec's first female cabinet minister, first female judge and the first woman elected to the province's legislature also became the first woman to be honoured with a funeral organized by the provincial government.
Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard described Kirkland-Casgrain as "a pioneer" who made an "invaluable contribution" to pushing Quebec forward.
"We are aware of the distance we have come and the distance we have left. And we have some left," he said in a eulogy.
The funeral was attended by numerous federal and provincial political figures, including former Quebec premiers Jean Charest and Pauline Marois as well NDP Leader Tom Mulcair and Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion.
During the service, Line Casgrain described her mother as a "superwoman" who never tired and was a huge presence in her childrens' lives.
She said her parents shared the same values and saw a need to modernize Quebec.
"I'm proud of my mother's quiet revolution, which benefited everyone," she said.
Dion, who represented the federal government, said it was not so long ago that women lived under men's authority in Quebec, and highlighted the need to continue to work toward equality.
Mulcair pointed out that Kirkland-Casgrain finished her life by "opening another door," as the first woman to receive a state funeral.
Kirkland-Casgrain died March 24 at the age of 91.
The McGill University law graduate became a Liberal member of the then-legislative assembly in 1961 and went on to achieve other noteworthy feats, including being the first female Quebec cabinet minister.
She held various portfolios, including transport, communications, cultural affairs, tourism, hunting and fishing before quitting politics to become a judge in 1973.
The Canadian Press