DENVER — PCL executive Darcy Belanger was one of 18 Canadians killed when Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed in Ethiopia shortly after takeoff on March 10.
Belanger, an environmental activist and graduate of the University of Alberta who had worked for Edmonton-based PCL for 14 years, had been posted to the PCL office in Denver since 2017 where he served as director of professional development for U.S. operations.
Belanger was a founding member of Parvati.org, where he advocated for environmental and wildlife protection through the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary (MAPS) program. He was en route to Nairobi, Kenya, where he was set to advocate for MAPS with government officials as part of a contingent of MAPS supporters, when the plane went down.
PCL’s official statement on Belanger’s death said, “The entire PCL family of companies across Canada and the United States is deeply shocked and saddened about the untimely passing of one of our own, Darcy Belanger, director, U.S. professional development.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Darcy’s family and friends during this difficult time.”
A message posted on Parvati’s website stated, “Admired for his courage, outstanding achievements and noble qualities, Darcy was a hero in every sense of the word. He was passionately devoted to the protection of all life through the realization of MAPS.”
Belanger advocated for the MAPS treaty at conferences around the world, including COP 21 in Paris.
Belanger graduated from the University of Alberta in 1994 with an education degree and spent several years teaching in Alberta and in Japan before switching to communications, studying at Ryerson University in Toronto from 1998 to 2000.
He worked his way up at PCL from positions in corporate training and communications to become a manager in digital communications and then leadership development before taking on his final executive position in Denver.
The Denver Post said Belanger is survived by his wife Amie, two sisters and his parents. His sister Carolyn said in a statement, “It shows one person really can make a difference if they are committed to making meaningful change in the world.”
Belanger posted a video from a Washington airport, one of several layovers on the route to Kenya. He spoke with enthusiasm about upcoming conversations he would be having with environment ministers in Nairobi March 11 to 15 promoting MAPS and concluded by saying, “I’ll check in again. We don’t know where I’ll be, maybe Ethiopia, maybe my final destination Kenya, but I’ll keep you posted on the journey. Have a great day, bye.”