Ryan Remiorz Archives The Canadian Press French actor Gérard Depardieu was knighted in 2002 by the prime minister at the time, Bernard Landry.
The leaders of the National Order of Quebec have recommended the removal of French actor Gérard Depardieu despite rules which provide for the application of this sanction only in the case of judicial conviction by a court.
Article 29 of the Internal Management Regulations describes the reasons and limits of the sanctions that can be imposed on persons decorated by the Government of Quebec.
“Only serious faults committed by a member of the Order, having led to his condemnation by legal, civil or criminal authorities, in other words serious faults, known publicly, justify the Order to intervene and recommend to the Prime Minister to remove a member,” indicates the document obtained by Le Devoir thanks to the Law on Access to Documents of Public Bodies.
According to the text, an “admonition” is possible in the case of “less serious faults, also known to the public”.
In mid-December, Prime Minister François Legault decided to remove Mr. Depardieu from the National Order of Quebec due to “scandalous comments” exposed in a report broadcast in France.< /p>
This expulsion from the Order, of which Mr. Depardieu had been knighted in 2002, was decreed “under the recommendation of the Council of the National Order of Quebec”, indicated the government press release.
On the legal front, Gérard Depardieu was indicted in 2020 on suspicion of rape. He is the target of a complaint for sexual assault filed by an actress for facts a priori prescribed, as well as by another complaint in Spain by a journalist accusing him of rape in 1995. The actor refutes these accusations, which do not have not yet been the subject of trial.
The Order does not respond
The president of the Council of the National Order of Quebec, Claudine Roy, refused an interview request from Devoir. “I am immediately transferring your request to the communications department of the Executive Council,” she responded by email on Friday, referring to Prime Minister Legault’s ministry.
The Executive Council responded on Wednesday that the recommendation of the leaders of the National Order of Quebec is based on the extract from a documentary broadcast by France Télévisions in early December. A spokesperson affirmed that the report leaves no doubt about the fact that Gérard Depardieu made, “on several occasions, in an assertive manner, openly and in front of the camera, degrading and offensive remarks towards several women and a little girl.”
“This video constitutes clear proof of behavior going against the values of Quebec and the Order, the Council therefore urgently looked into the case of Mr. Depardieu and recommended his removal,” said Cynthia Boissonneault.
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According to the Executive Council, the recommendation does not contravene article 29 of the Internal Management Regulations, which nevertheless sets a limit to sanctions in the absence of a court decision. The recommendation of the Council of the Order is based instead on article 28.
“Articles 28 and 29 are complementary,” said Ms. Boissonneault.
Article 28 of the Internal Management Regulations establishes within which framework the Council of the Order can recommend to the Prime Minister to sanction a member. Intervention is possible in particular to maintain the honor of the Order, for ethical reasons and to preserve its prestigious public image, as in cases of “socially unacceptable behavior on the part of its members”.
But it is only article 29 which specifies what sanctions are applied depending on the situation. The text establishes that the most severe decision, removal, is limited to “serious faults”, i.e. those which have been the subject of a court decision. In criminal law, they consist of “crimes carrying a prison sentence of two years or more,” states Article 29. In civil law, “the importance of economic sanctions or dismissals testifies to the seriousness of the mistakes committed,” the text specifies.
“In both cases, the Order will only intervene once the legal sanctions are known,” stipulates the last sentence of article 29.
In France, Gérard Depardieu's recent comments have sparked controversy. However, he benefited from the defense of President Emmanuel Macron, who denounced a “manhunt”. His predecessor, François Hollande, for his part defended the actor's alleged victims.
Among the nine members who make up the Council of the Order, former liberal minister Liza Frulla declared that Mr. Depardieu's comments justified the recommendation for his removal.
“It’s disgusting, he’s a pig,” she said. I apologize there, it's a pig; so in a case like this, we unanimously found that indeed, this man was not worthy of the Order. » According to Ms. Frulla, the facts presented in the report were clear enough for this decision to be made. “We see it with our eyes, we hear it with our ears,” she explained.
Jean-Louis Roy, also a member of the Council of the Order, was absent at the time of the vote. He did not want to say whether he supported the recommendation. “I haven’t challenged it publicly,” he said.
With Dave Noël and François Carabin