Former Aylmer Mayor Constance Provost passes at 96
Flags in front of Place des Pionniers were at half-mast last weekend to commemorate the life of former Aylmer Mayor Constance Provost, who passed away at age 96. The beloved late politician was Mayor of Aylmer from 1983 to 1995, serving three mandates and earning the community’s utmost adoration and respect along the way. The former Aylmer town hall at 115 rue Principale is where she worked during her political tenure.
Upon the news of her passing, many Aylmerites and local politicians took to social media to extend their condolences to the Provost family. Aylmer district councillor Audrey Bureau praised Provost’s impact on Aylmer’s growth during her time as mayor, and added her famous slogan ‘Aylmer has it all’.
Gatineau Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin also expressed his sympathies and highlighted Provost’s political contributions. “Cities are built thanks to people like her,” Pedneaud-Jobin said. “In love with her community and ready to do more than her part to build. Merci, Madame Provost.”
Lucerne district councillor Gilles Chagnon spoke admirably of Provost’s dedication to the community. “She was so passionate and she really believed in Aylmer,” Chagnon said. “She’s the best ambassador Aylmer had … when she was determined, she would get something.”
Provost’s daughter, Danielle, confirmed that her mother passed away from complications with Alzheimer’s on December 9. Considering that her mother had been out of the political limelight for more than 20 years, Danielle said she was very moved by the community’s response. “We’re very touched,” Danielle said. “People certainly didn’t forget about our mom. It’s beautiful to see that because she never stopped helping in the community.”
Provost was named as ambassador of the Aylmer Monastery in the early 2000s. Deservingly revered, Danielle said her mother’s most memorable qualities that made her great were her sense of attachment to the community, her thoughtfulness, and selflessness. “She needed the energy of people around her that made her live,” Danielle said. “She loved talking to people. She loved helping people … she was very attentive. She was a great listener and she loved everybody. It didn’t make a different who you were.”
Before becoming a full-time politician, Provost worked at the family’s print shop, l’Imprimerie de Wrightville in Hull, while also working as Lucerne councillor, completing the former councillor’s term from 1973 to 1975. After her husband passed away in 1979, Provost launched into politics full-time when she ran for the position of Lucerne councillor.
In her early twenties, during her mom’s journey to the top of Aylmer’s political mountain, Danielle recalls helping her mom organize her campaigns with a plethora of other people.
Highly influenced by her father John Nelson Morin, Provost showed an interest in politics from a young age and gravitated towards leadership positions wherever she went, Danielle said. “She was always in a committee for something,” Danielle said. “She was attracted to that.”
In 1983, Provost was elected Mayor – replacing Patrick T. Asselin when he left two years into his mandate – setting the stage for an historic tenure. Among many notable accomplishments, Danielle highlighted her mother’s role in revitalizing rue Principale, getting the sector’s skating rinks built, and enhancing the state of local affordable housing.
After 12 years as Mayor of Aylmer, Danielle said her mother wanted to keep going for another four. However, in her early 70s at that point, age became a considerable issue – causing her to move on from politics and go out on top. “She would’ve gone for a fourth term,” Danielle said. “She wanted to continue … she loved it so much.”
Considering her mother’s impact on Aylmer and that the city is starting to make a priority of commemorating local infrastructure, urban furniture, and streets after influential local people, Danielle said her mother deserves all the recognition the city can offer. “It merits something,” Danielle said.
With a new library and municipal space being built in the same location as her mother’s former mayoral office, it would be fitting to see the new building named after Constance Provost, Danielle said.