Yves Michaud Drops out of the Mercier Race
"I did not decide on my own accord to put forward my name to represent the Parti Québécois for the riding of Mercier. The members of the executive unanimously endorsed my candidacy and more than two hundred members expressed the wish that I represent them in the National Assembly. I answered their wish in the affirmative while pointing out that I would keep, in the eventuality of my election, my right to review and criticize government policies.
On the very day of the announcement of my candidacy, December 12, 2000, a campaign of hatred, disinformation, insults and attacks on my reputation was started by Mr. Robert Libman and the BNai Brith, an organization of which he is the Quebec director. Outrageously distorting my words for the purpose of destroying my reputation, they demanded that Mr. Bouchard oppose my candidacy. Two days later, on December 14, 2000, the members of the National Assembly unanimously associated themselves with the BNai Brith by voting, with lightning speed, a motion censuring me "without nuances and debate". The parliamentary omerta [Note from the translator: this is the law of silence among Mafiosi] was imposed, censure was decreed, and freedom of expression was violated. Mr. Bouchard pronounced my excommunication. The Prime Minister brought down the National Assembly to the level of a tribunal of exception, giving this issue that could have been settled within the party an inordinate dimension. If there were negative effects for Quebec, here or abroad, he was primarily responsible for it.
The principles and the values that have inspired me have always been the antithesis of anathemas, abuses of power and authority; I have always opposed encroachments on freedom of speech and upheld the right to dissidence and contradiction. In the half century of my life that I have devoted nearly entirely to the service of my country [ma patrie], and despite the ferociousness of the struggles and fights that I have engaged in, I have never uttered words that have crossed the line of what is acceptable.
Consequently, given the intransigence of Mr. Bouchard, and otherwise not having any hopes that in the short or medium terms the National Assembly would repair the immense wrongs that have been inflicted on me, I have come to the conclusion that I cannot take the slightest risk to condemn myself, for a number of years to come, to difficult and distressful associations. I will not solicit the investiture in the Mercier riding. I urge the members of the Party that have supported me in the last few weeks to redouble their zeal to bring about the triumph of freedom of expression, to show their support for social democracy and to defeat the prevailing neo-liberalism. Even more importantly, to vigorously oppose the attempts to wipe out the past, our guideposts, to erase the memory of our people. Equally, to stand against suicidal attempts to "renew" the sovereignist discourse that preaches entrance into an era of emptiness and uprootedness, reducing Quebec society to insignificance, to an atomization of citizens ferociously individualist and having no other reasons to exist but to quench their thirst for consumer goods. I believe that the president of the riding of Mercier, Mr. André Reny, has all the required qualities to defend and promote these values and principles.
I stand back from the Parti Québécois while prepared, if necessary, to jump in to defend the values and the principles that have guided my actions. I will do so without regard to the price that must be paid for the indispensable promotion of truth.
Montreal, January 14, 2001
[Note from the translator: This letter was sent to all of the major newspapers and media of Quebec with the notation that they should not seek interviews following the publication of this document. Mr. André Reny is currently the President of the executive committee of the Parti Québécois in the riding of Mercier.]
Source: La Presse, January 15, 2001, p. A-2
© 2001 For the translation, Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College