René Lévesque would have turned 100 this summer. Until the next anniversary, August 24th, Le Devoir is commemorating the founder of the Parti Québécois and one of the greatest prime ministers in history on all its platforms with the series 100 Years by René Lévesque.
René Lévesque “woke up in his own way,” says his son Claude. So much so that the politician behind the Parti Québécois “probably” would have had chemistry with Québec solidaire, he believes.
“Did he wake up?” In a way”, statue Claude Lévesque in an interview with Le Devoir as part of his father’s 100th birthday.
Both in his columns published in various newspapers and magazines and in his speeches, the former Prime Minister of Quebec has long spoken out against injustice. In a 1960 piece in Modern Review, the politician harshly condemned “that South African variant of racial segregation called apartheid.”
Then, in Dimanche-Matin in 1968, he urged Americans to follow the teachings of Martin Luther King. “To confront and overcome racism, Americans must embody King’s idea and its natural extension, the return of peace in Vietnam, as soon as possible,” he wrote.
“There were a lot of people at the time who thought he was too left-wing. The left includes anti-racism. […] He was certainly anti-racist,” his son claimed at Le Devoir’s Montreal offices, hours before the start of the Levesque Year at the Bibliothèque et Archives Nationales du Québec
“He was quite open to the feminist revolution. He was certainly aware of the environmental problems, ”continues Claude Lévesque, ex-journalist.
René Lévesque was not long in coming to speak about climate change. In a column he signed in Le Journal de Montréal in 1972, the then leader of the Parti Québécois warned of the “horror” of pollution, “the most visible and well-known sign of the devastation ‘civilization’ wreaks on the environment.
At the time, many thought he was too left-wing
“Maybe he was woken up his way!” points to Claude Levesque. With many nuances. According to him, it is not impossible to believe that the founding father of the Parti Québécois (PQ) would have – in some respects – approved of Québec solidaire. “Probably,” he agrees.
” A bit difficult “
Earlier this month, former Prime Minister Lucien Bouchard threw a stone in the pond by suggesting that the PQ, which is struggling in the polls, could be replaced with “another vehicle” carrying the sovereignty project. Would René Lévesque have shared this reading? “Vehicles undoubtedly change. Claude Lévesque analyzes that some might disappear. That the Parti Québécois is doomed to disappear, I don’t think he would share that diagnosis. »
“If my father came back to earth today, I don’t think he would give up the party he founded,” he adds.
In the eyes of Claude Lévesque, former Prime Minister Bouchard was “a bit tough”. The latter also added on Monday evening at the start of the Lévesque year that he should have worded his comment differently.
Despite the difficulties of the Parti Québécois, Claude Lévesque did not see support for independence in Quebec eroding and disappearing. Even if it is “weakened”, the son of the founder of the Movement Sovereignty Association asserts. “For her to die, there would have to be an alternative solution,” he says. I don’t think there is an alternative to people’s self-determination. »