On the same day that Saskatchewan bade farewell to a politician of legendary stature in former premier Allan Blakeney, former Sask Party MLA Serge LeClerc also lost a battle with cancer and passed away at 57.
If LeClerc is remembered at all in the political realm, it will not be for anything he accomplished in the three years he sat in the Legislature as the MLA for Saskatoon Northwest after being elected in 2007. Rather, the biggest mark he made on provincial politics was when he was found to have engaged in “unethical and unlawful” conduct by the province’s conflict of interest commissioner Ronald Barclay. That determination was made in 2010 after CBC obtained and broadcast recordings of LeClerc discussing illicit drug use and allegedly arranging to have cocaine delivered to his home.
Prior to entering politics, LeClerc had served time in prison for drug and gang offences. After embracing Christianity, he worked to turn his life around, and in 2002 became head of Teen Challenge Saskatchewan — a faith-based program to help youth struggling with addiction issues of their own. Even after LeClerc resigned his seat on Sept. 1, 2010, he continued to work as motivational speaker.
LeClerc died in Ontario, where he’d been receiving treatment for colon and bowel cancer. In a statement, premier Brad Wall described LeClerc’s life story as one of redemption. “Serge overcame a very troubled past and went on to touch the lives of thousands of young people with his powerful message about the dangers of drug use.”
As a politician, LeClerc was a definite failure. As a human being, he also had his share of failings. But if Wall’s contention is true, and LeClerc did have a positive impact on youth who were facing struggles similar to what he faced, then he deserves to be acknowledged for his efforts.