In Quebec he will be remembered as the soft-spoken academic who went toe-to-toe intellectually with the separatist movement.
But while at ease in the world of constitutional law and, later, climate change and the environment, Stéphane Dion was less successful in the modern often superficial world of politics where image and media savvy matter as much or more than brain power, tact and introspection.
And in the new era of an America led by a brash president-elect, Donald Trump, Dion was a polar opposite of what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau believes is needed in the big foreign affairs chair.
On Tuesday, Dion, the MP for Saint-Laurent (formerly Saint-Laurent-Cartierville) since 1996, chose to quit politics after being dumped from cabinet by Trudeau.
Taken aback and none-too-happy about his fate after so many years service, Dion issued a statement that hit the wire at about the same time his replacement, Chrystia Freeland, someone who is everything he is not, was being sworn into his old job.
The tone was bitter, suggesting Dion’s departure was far from graceful.