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The National Assembly salutes the memory of Yves Michaud without retracting

Photo: Jacques Nadeau Archives Le Devoir In December 2000, elected representatives of the Quebec Parliament adopted a motion of censure accusing Yves Michaud of having made anti-Semitic remarks during the Estates General hearings on French in Montreal.

The elected representatives of the National Assembly stood up in turn on Tuesday to salute the political, journalistic and diplomatic legacy of Yves Michaud, who died a week earlier, without however retracting the blame addressed to a quarter century earlier to the ex-MP.

Before holding a minute of silence at the Salon bleu, where Mr. Michaud worked for four years in the last century (1966-1970), the parliamentarians all supported a motion from the leader of the Parti Québécois, Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, asking “ that the National Assembly pays tribute” to his exploits as a journalist first, then as a deputy, as general delegate of Quebec in Paris and as a great defender of small savers and shareholders.

“On behalf of the government, I want to welcome the tabling of this motion highlighting the memory of Mr. Yves Michaud. Through his unwavering commitment to the Quebec nation, this great man contributed to the advancement of the Quebec state, particularly with regard to the French language. Obviously, the death of a man of his stature leaves a great void,” said the Minister of the French Language, Jean-François Roberge, who spoke on behalf of the Coalition Avenir Québec.

The motion made no mention of the “Michaud affair”, the turmoil into which the former elected official was plunged from December 2000 when he was blamed by the National Assembly for having made hostile remarks about of the Jewish people. Statements he always denied.

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On Tuesday, the PQ leader, Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, justified this choice by affirming that those close to Mr. Michaud had expressly requested it, citing the refusal to apologize by Prime Minister François Legault , last week. He voted in favor of the motion of censure in 2000.

“The family told us […] that given the spontaneous and firm statements of the Prime Minister, they did not want to have another motion that could end in another injustice. She clearly preferred to have a tribute in due form,” argued Mr. St-Pierre Plamondon on Tuesday.

However, after the elected representative of Camille-Laurin had mentioned the “sad and unfair episode” of the “Michaud affair” in his speech in the House, all the deputies of the Coalition Avenir Québec ( CAQ) remained seated. Just like, moreover, those of the Liberal Party of Quebec (PLQ), whose elected officials at the time had endorsed the motion.

“We think it lacks class,” thundered the PQ elected official, once he left the Blue Room. “It is difficult to explain this decision of the government, which is in line with other gestures and declarations which, from our point of view, are not very respectful of the person and the contribution of Yves Michaud. »

The “Michaud affair”

In December 2000, the elected representatives of the Quebec Parliament adopted a motion of censure accusing Yves Michaud of having made anti-Semitic remarks during the Estates General hearings on French in Montreal. Elected officials like the prime minister at the time, Lucien Bouchard, and the current prime minister, François Legault, then PQ, voted in favor that day. Yves Michaud has always denied having made any anti-Semitic statement.

In 2011, around fifty elected and former elected officials of the Parti Québécois expressed their regret over this motion of censure, but it was never withdrawn. Prime Minister Legault is one of only two MPs still in office who voted in favor of the motion. Last week, he refused to apologize for his actions. “I live well with my vote,” he said.

Last week, PQ MP Pascal Bérubé said he wanted to take “a gesture” to erase for good the blame adopted against Mr. Michaud. After speaking with the relatives of the man who was a great friend of René Lévesque, the party now offers to “proceed to rectify the facts” if the family wants it and if he is brought to power in 2026.

“I am certain that in the coming years we will have the opportunity to do him justice,” said Mr. St-Pierre Plamondon on Tuesday.

Solidarity MP Ruba Ghazal, who had sent a letter to her counterparts the day before to “make a transpartisan gesture” of reparation with regard to Mr. Michaud, had still not received a response on Tuesday. By rising in the House to salute the memory of the man to whom she had presented the National Assembly medal two years ago, she reiterated her desire to “repair [an] error”.

“This vote is unworthy of our institution,” she insisted. The CAQ and the PLQ did not applaud his tribute either.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116