"As Mr. Desmarais was a native of Sudbury and a proud Franco-Ontarien, our leader thought of me to represent the NDP at the memorial service for Mr. Desmarais in Montreal,” Gravelle said.
"It is a honour. Mr. Desmarais became one of Canada's' most successful businessman and always remembered his roots in Northern Ontario."
Desmarais was born in Sudbury in 1927 when it was largely a mining town, the son of Jean-Noel Desmarais, a Sudbury lawyer and Lebea Laforest. He was the grandson of Northern Ontario settler and lumberman Noel Desmarais, who gave his name to the town of Noelville.
The memorial service begins at 3 p.m. at Notre Dame Basilica.