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Statement by the Prime Minister on the death of Viola Léger

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The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on the death of Viola Léger, comedian, actress, and former senator:

“I was saddened today to learn of the passing of Viola Léger, an iconic, celebrated and beloved comedian who held Acadian culture dear and worked tirelessly to defend it, both as a performer and as a senator.

“Viola Léger was best known for portraying the character La Sagouine, a humble Acadian cleaning lady, in the play of the same name. She played the role more than 3,000 times, and put the Acadian people in the spotlight in Canada and abroad. She won the 1981 Dora Mavor Moore Award for her outstanding performance, and was recognized for her lifetime achievement as a recipient of the 2013 Governor General’s Performing Award.

“She was also a writer, a teacher, and a Canadian senator from 2001 to 2005, representing Acadians. She was made an Officer of the Order of Canada, and was awarded the Order of New Brunswick.

“Viola Léger entertained millions of people and inspired many to learn and honour the Acadian people and culture. A true artist, her presence both on and off the stage will be missed.

“On behalf of the Government of Canada, Sophie and I offer our sincere condolences to Viola Léger’s family, friends, and her many fans. Her contribution to Acadian culture and heritage will be remembered for generations to come.”