[Opinion] A soul does not die

Michel Rioux, volunteer secretary on the board of directors of Le Devoir inc. from 2001, laid down his pen for a well-deserved retirement. We reproduce excerpts from his latest speech to the board of directors of Duty, equal to the man he is: sincere, upright and deeply affectionate. Brian Myles, Director of Duty

When he asked me to say a few words to you on the occasion of this somewhat special board meeting, our director suggested putting in some anecdote, to share some emotions with you, to do it with sincerity. , while he interspersed my comments with elements that might make you smile.

Vast program, De Gaulle would have said …

The style will certainly be very different from that of the 400 or 500 pages of minutes that I have been able to write since Bernard Descôteaux entrusted me with the responsibility of secretary of this council in 2001. I have seen many quality men and women pass through it. aware of serving a cause that is beyond all of us: the defense and promotion of the superior interests of Quebec and its inhabitants.

Larger than life characters

My whole professional and militant life took place above all in the shadow of characters who are often larger than life and whose names have already begun to be remembered in history. Whether it is in the 1960s, at the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs, or in the first Conseil de la langue française, where the great policies arising from bill 101 were developed, starting from 1978, or finally at the CSN, above all, where I was activist for almost 30 years in the Information Service.

Without our being fully aware of them when we experience them, the events that weave the web of a life acquire their full meaning when we consider them not in their immediacy, but in time. Curiously, and I realized it by reflecting on what I’m telling you, The duty it often appeared in the background of my personal journey.

During the 85And anniversary of Duty, the director, Lise Bissonnette, had said to Gérald Larose, in my presence: you know, Mr. Rioux is my favorite pamphlet writer. But obviously he is not kept in balance …

It is true that sometimes it is an advantage, an incredible favor, that life can do for us.

For more than 40 years I have been writing columns, first a CSN News, a magazine I founded in 1978; then inside The charlatan, a satirical diary launched by Pierre de Bellefeuille and Jean-François Nadeau and where my signature was compared with those of Pierre Vadeboncœur and Pierre Falardeau; and now inside The Aut’journal.

wears an ideal

I talked about it before Duty as something akin to Quebec consciousness. This is true at all times, and it is true when both the political status of Quebec and the defense of social justice or the promotion of measures to make it prevail are in question.

The duty he was on the side of the people of Quebec during the two conscription crises.

The duty took over the cause of the asbestos strikers in 1949.

The dutytogether with other democratic organizations, such as the Liberal Party and the CTCC, which became CSN in 1960, they set up barricades when it came to fighting the Duplessis regime.

The duty prepared and welcomed the Silent Revolution.

The duty he defended rights and freedoms during the October crisis and supported the defense of democratic values ​​attacked by Montreal, Quebec and Ottawa.

The dutyunder the impulse of Claude Ryan, he took the cause of power in Quebec by forcing the rejection of the Victoria Agreement in 1971, much to the chagrin of Pierre Elliott Trudeau.

The duty he said a resounding “NO” to the Charlottetown Agreement in 1992. We still remember Lise Bissonnette’s famous three-letter editorial.

The duty dared to support Parti Québécois in 1976.

The duty dared to support the Yes in the 1995 referendum.

And we could add dozens of occasions when The duty he took up the case, visor raised, against any initiative that could undermine Quebec, its rights, its freedoms, its aspirations. And her dreams too.

Too many are those who, with their eyes fixed on the immediate, try, but misled in the most beautiful way, to measure institutions which, like The duty, have a soul. This language may seem clerical, but having a soul means, for an institution, having the vocation to promote an ideal, to fight for values, to try to decipher the hidden meaning behind events which, apparently, do not. .

A soul is not extinguished. An idea does not die.

The duty she managed to stay on course because she was able, at all times, to resist the temptation to succumb to the spirit of the times by being long-term. Of course, you have to adapt. This does not mean that we should try to occupy ground that others know much better than we do. I try to broaden its readers, of course. But not at the cost of breaking with what she still does Duty the conscience of Quebec.

On the Board of Directors I supported quality men and women, concerned for the common good and aware of contributing with their bricks to the construction, always on the move, of an absolutely indispensable institution in Quebec and Quebecers.

precious memories

I will keep a precious memory of Bernard Descôteaux, this one paterfamilia. I cannot forget the humor and commitment of Presidents Yves Duhaime and the late Jean Lamarre, men who have been able to stay on course during the many storms that our newspaper has had to face.

For six years I have seen a director with a vigorous entrepreneurial spirit. A director who thinks big for the newspaper he directs. It was Beaumarchais who wrote that praise takes its full value in the reviews that precede it. Honestly Brian will undoubtedly allow me to continue to criticize him on a title, on the choice of a title, on the content of a report. Hi, Brian, for whom it has become almost natural to call me “Comrade Rioux” …

Four presidencies

I have been secretary of the CA during four presidencies. But the most dynamic was undoubtedly the last. Skillful, persuasive, active on several fronts to open up new perspectives The duty, also convinced that humor is the best antidote to constipation of the mind, I must say that André Ryan is one of the leaders who most impressed me in almost sixty years of commitment. Hi Andrea!

In conclusion, I would like to wish Mélanie Valcin, who replaces me as agent of the Fondaction, the CSN Fund for Cooperation and Employment, all the pleasure I have had in attending this Council meeting. I want to assure him it’s really worth it.

Greetings and friendships to all of you!

Long live a Duty !

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