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Quotes from ceremony for Paul Desmarais

MONTREAL - Paul Desmarais was celebrated in a tribute at the Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal on Tuesday. Here are some quotes about the late business tycoon from the ceremony and from outside the event:

"He was a titan of high moral standards. He was respected by allies and adversaries alike. He was a savvy businessman with connections that spanned the globe. But one character trait above all stood much taller than the rest. Above all, Paul Desmarais was 'notre ami'. He was quite simply our great and our caring and our considerate friend." — James Baker, former U.S. secretary of state, during the ceremony.

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"Every day with Paul, and I had hundreds with him, both here and around the world, every one was a good one. Something to learn. Something to do. Some new place to go. Some fascinating people to meet." — Former prime minister Brian Mulroney during the ceremony.

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"Like you, Jim, and so many others gathered for this memorial service, I feel really fortunate that I was able to call Paul Desmarais my friend." — former U.S. president George Bush in a statement that was read out by Baker at the ceremony.

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"They had a tremendously good relationship, not always seeing eye-to-eye on everything but there was a deep respect and friendship between the both of them." — Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, speaking outside the basilica in describing the relationship between his father, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, and Desmarais.

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"He's probably the most important businessman in modern Canadian history." — Finance Minister Jim Flaherty outside the basilica.

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"He was a patriot, he loved Canada, so it wasn't only about business, far from it. Those who loved him and knew him, his life was more than just that." — Former Quebec premier Jean Charest outside the basilica.

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"He's an example that, if you have dreams, you can achieve them. It's the example he gave to young people: everything is possible if you're young, you have talent, you have passion and you have dreams. Go ahead and try to achieve them." — Ex-Quebec premier Lucien Bouchard outside the basilica.

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"We were totally opposed on many matters — the national fate of Quebec of course, the management of modern capitalism, but for many other things — internationalism, culture — we were on the same (page). And that's why we remained friends." — Former Quebec premier Bernard Landry outside the basilica.

The Canadian Press

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