MONTREAL — The RCMP officer killed in the line of duty in Quebec this week was remembered Tuesday as a "gentle giant" who was fulfilling a lifelong dream by working for the federal force.
Const. Richer Dubuc, 42, a seven-year veteran of the force, had only been stationed in Quebec since early this year, the Mounties said in a statement.
The married father of four died from injuries after a crash Monday night between his RCMP vehicle and a farm tractor in Lacolle, near the U.S.-Canada border.
A native of Joliette, Que., Dubuc began his career with the Codiac detachment in New Brunswick in November 2009. In January, he joined the Integrated Border Enforcement Team based in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que.
"The great RCMP family is deeply saddened by the tragic death of our colleague," the force said. "We offer our deepest and most heartfelt condolences to the family, colleagues and friends of Richer."
Supt. Paul Beauchesne, the officer who oversees the Codiac detachment where Dubuc began working upon graduating from the RCMP training academy, said his former colleague had achieved a lifelong ambition.
"Richer was known as a man of 'large stature' with a personality that matched," Beauchesne said in a statement. "His co-workers called him 'the gentle giant' because he was very tall and always in good spirits.
"We are all feeling his loss."
Beauchesne said Richer's permanent smile and his willingness to stand up for others and lend a hand is how he will be remembered. His contributions to the New Brunswick communities he served won't be forgotten, he added.
Prior to becoming a member of the RCMP, Richer was a paramedic and served as an emergency medical technician with the tactical and emergency response units in the province, said Larry Tremblay, commanding officer of the RCMP in New Brunswick.
A Quebec provincial police spokesman said the tractor driver suffered minor injuries and that the circumstances of the crash were under investigation.
The collision occurred on Highway 202 near Roxham Road, an area frequently used by migrants crossing into Canada on foot from the United States.
RCMP officers have been dealing with a significant increase in the number of migrants arriving this way in Quebec and Manitoba.
A moment of silence was held in the House of Commons on Tuesday to mark Dubuc's death.
In Montreal, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale also expressed his condolences to Dubuc's family.
"This is a great tragedy," Goodale said as he attended an event. "An officer on duty, serving the public safety of Canadians, doing his job ... In the course of a police officer's responsibilities, they expose themselves to very real risks and dangers."
Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press