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Yves Michaud, the “Robin of the banks”, is dead

Photo: Jacques Nadeau Archives Le Devoir Yves Michaud, seen here in 2000, is notably known for having founded the Shareholder Education and Defense Movement in 1995.

Dave Christmas and Francois Carabin in Quebec

March 20, 2024

  • Quebec

The “Robin Banks” is no more. Former politician, journalist and businessman Yves Michaud passed away on Tuesday evening.

Le Devoir was able to confirm the news, first relayed by Radio-Canada. The former Liberal MP, who had been convinced by René Lévesque to join the Parti Québécois in 1970, was 94 years old. Beyond his political career, he is known for having edited the newspapers La Patrie and Le Jour, for having held the seat of general delegate of Quebec in Paris and for having founded the Movement for Education and Defense of Shareholders in 1995.

It was the actions he took at the head of this organization, as defender of minority shareholders, that earned him the nickname “Robin of the Banks”.

Several decades earlier, the native of Saint-Hyacinthe first became known to the general public as the Liberal MP for Gouin (1966-1969). Opposed to the adoption of his government's Bill 63 on the French language, whose lack of teeth he deplored, he resigned in October 1969.

In 1970, Yves Michaud joined his friend René Lévesque in the Parti Québécois. He tried unsuccessfully to be elected under the banner of the political party in 1973. Mandates of High Commissioner for Cooperation at the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs followed, then delegate in Paris, a position he held for five years.

“For me, Yves Michaud is France,” declared former PQ minister Louise Beaudoin, who succeeded the general delegate in the premises on rue Pergolèse, in the heart of the 16th arrondissement. “He developed the political relationships which ensured that we were assured of the international recognition of France if we had voted Yes in the referendum. »

“He had this life filled with a thirst for justice for the language, for the country and for investors,” underlined PQ MP Pascal Bérubé on Wednesday, a few moments after learning of the death of Mr. Michaud. It was he who, in 2020, presented a motion – rejected by the Coalition Avenir Québec – in order to erase a reprimand addressed by the National Assembly to Yves Michaud in 2000 for anti-Semitic remarks.

A blame never removed

In December 2000, the members of the Quebec Parliament adopted a motion of censure accusing Yves Michaud of having made “unacceptable remarks” towards the Jewish community. François Legault, who sat as a member of the Parti Québécois, and Lucien Bouchard, then prime minister, had all endorsed it. “We all stood up like sheep, if I can say so. It was the party line,” says Louise Beaudoin.

Yves Michaud has always denied having made these comments. In 2011, around fifty elected and former elected officials of the Parti Québécois expressed their regret over this motion of censure.

For his part, Prime Minister Legault has never apologized for having given his approval. By presenting a medal from the National Assembly to Mr. Michaud almost two years ago, solidarity MP Ruba Ghazal wanted to help repair this “error”. “I have a feeling of regret, of great regret,” she said in an interview on Wednesday. I know it was a big hurt for him and for his family. »

Yves Michaud, the “Robin of the banks”, is dead

Photo: Adil Boukind Le Devoir Almost two years ago, solidarity MP Ruba Ghazal presented a medal from the National Assembly to Yves Michaud

The then President of the National Assembly, Jean-Pierre Charbonneau, was in the front row when the motion of censure against former MP Michaud was adopted in December 2000. “As president, I couldn’t do much,” he confided to Devoira quarter of a century later. With hindsight, if the legality of the motion or its regulatory nature had been brought to my attention as president, perhaps I could have made a decision. But hey, we’re not remaking history…”

Mr. Charbonneau tried to obtain compensation for the hated citizen with the support of former Prime Minister Bernard Landry. “It never came to fruition because there were a few who stubbornly refused to recognize that they had been wrong… François Legault, if he had wanted, he could have ensured that the The National Assembly makes honorable amends… Lucien Bouchard too, by the way. »

Jean-Pierre Charbonneau regrets that the process was not successful. “Michaud died, and unfortunately, this affair haunted him and hurt him until the end of his days. »

“A real fighter”

François Legault praised Yves Michaud's career on the social network X on Wednesday. “Yves Michaud was a real fighter. Throughout his career, he fought to protect the French language and Quebec culture. He also came to the defense of small shareholders. »

Yves Michaud, the “Robin of the banks”, is dead

Photo: Graham Hughes Archives The Canadian Press Yves Michaud in 2008

Approached before entering a meeting of the Council of Ministers, the Minister of the French Language, Jean-François Roberge, also made a point of recognizing the “pioneer” Michaud. “He had a whole career as a journalist, as a diplomat. “He is someone who fought for the French language in the 1960s and 1970s, who paved the way for several great advances that came afterwards,” he said on Wednesday.

The CAQ elected official did not want to respond to journalists who asked him if Mr. Michaud deserved an apology from the National Assembly. The Minister of International Relations, Martine Biron, stopped briefly. “It makes me a little sad that he didn’t get compensation. »

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