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Yves Michaud, 1930-2024: the « 

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Activist shareholder Yves Michaud speaks to journalists after the annual meeting of the National Bank, Friday February 29, 2008, in Montreal.

Radio-Canada

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Journalist, diplomat, politician, businessman, Yves Michaud led the life of a fighter. The founder of the Shareholder Education and Defense Movement died Tuesday evening at the Notre-Dame-de-la-Paix residence in Montreal, where he lived. He was 94 years old.

Yves Michaud fought all his life as much for language and culture as for the independence of Quebec. But it was his fight for justice for small shareholders that earned him the nickname “Robin of the Banks”.

Fate has always planned in my case to be protesting and to be in opposition to something, he said to Gilles Morin as part of the program Mémoires de consommateurs, in 2011.

It is his defense of the French language that will lead him towards independence. In 1969, while he was a member of Parliament for Gouin, Bill 63, which proposed granting parents free choice of language of instruction, led him to resign from the Liberal Party of Quebec.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">Great friend of René Lévesque, he then made the move towards the Parti Québécois (PQ), founded the previous year.

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The two men have known each other since the time when Yves Michaud ran the newspaper Le Bugle, in Saint-Hyacinthe, his alma mater. René Lévesque, then working for Radio Canada International, wrote articles and cinema reviews for which he received the tidy sum of $5.

The years pass. Yves Michaud took over the management of the weekly La Patrie and took the helm of the short-lived independence newspaper Le Jour, from 1974 to 1976. Two months after the latter closed, the PQ was elected on November 15, 1976.

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Yves Michaud during the launch of his book “The Michaud Affair: Chronicle of a Parliamentary Execution” in 2010< /p>

Although he was never a member of Parliament for the PQ, Yves Michaud was in all his fights.

Prime Minister René Lévesque offers him a position as diplomatic advisor. In 1979, he moved to Paris as general delegate.

Like Claude Morin, he is one of those who made Quebec shine internationally, and more particularly in France. His role will be decisive in the Pechiney file, a major French investment to build an aluminum factory on Quebec soil.

It's also him which inspired a Quebec square in the 6th arrondissement of Paris, at the crossroads of the Café de Flore, the Deux Magots and the Saint-Germain-des-Prés church.

Yves Michaud returns to Quebec with the title of Commander of the Legion of Honor.

Lévesque is a big part of my life. He was my greatest friend with Robert [Bourassa, Editor's note]. I am still inconsolable about his memory. He had so many qualities. He had terrible flaws, but what an attractive man he was. We could never be bored with him.

A quote from Yves Michaud to Gilles Morin, in Memoirs of deputies

After his political years, he had a brief three-year stint as CEO of the Palais des congrès.

From 1995, and for the next 15 years, he would act as David before Goliath, defending small shareholders. He created the Association for the Protection of Savers and Investors of Quebec, which would become the Movement for Education and Defense of Shareholders (MEDAC). This battle earned him the nickname “Robin of the banks”.

I wanted to reduce the privileges of the bank managers, he told Gilles Morin. In 1997, he won an important victory. The Superior Court agrees with him and forces the banks to send all shareholders its proposals to limit the income and privileges of managers.

Each shareholder owns the bank, and I said at one point to the president of the Royal Bank: "You are my servant, I am your owner". Hey, he didn't like it. I was making $12,000 a year, he was making 7-8 million. It’s a pestilential world, the financial world, it’s an absolutely abject world. After 15 years, I said to myself: I'm going to breathe something else, because it's going to suffocate me.

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Yves Michaud, defender of shareholder rights, asks a question during the annual meeting of the Bank of Montreal, in Montreal, Tuesday February 26, 2002.

His fight against injustices will not end with the banks, but rather with the National Assembly.

On December 10, 2000, while trying to return to politics by running in the riding of Mercier, Yves Michaud was the victim of what he called the villainous motion.

The deputies unanimously adopted a motion of censure condemning him for having made remarks deemed anti-Semitic which, in fact, were never uttered.

Yves Michaud will remain injured for a long time.

In May 2022, solidarity MP Ruba Ghazal, accompanied by former MPs Jean-Pierre Charbonneau and Louise Beaudoin, will present her with the National Assembly medal to highlight her exceptional contribution to Quebec society. He becomes, like Gérald Godin and Camille Laurin before him, a great Quebecer.

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The PLC deputy in the county of Lotbinière Auguste Choquette, the journalist Paul-Émile Tremblay and the PLQ deputy in the county of Gouin Yves Michaud in 1966.

Joined by Radio-Canada on Wednesday, the son of the deceased, Luc Michaud, said he hoped that his father would be remembered other than because of the motion that condemned him in December 2000 .

Quebecers, he said, should especially remember the fight led by Yves Michaud against Bill 63, which contributed to the disappearance of the Union nationale and which convinced the following government – ​​that of Robert Bourassa – to modify said law, in 1974.

Otherwise, we would not be talking about the anglicization of Montreal; it would be a done deal, I think, summarizes Luc Michaud.

The latter also remembers the passage of his father in everyday life The Jour, which, according to him, largely contributed to the first election of the PQ, in 1976, which led to Law 101 which, still today, protects the future of French in Quebec.

This fight for the French language, he summarizes, should be considered his most important contribution to all of society Quebecois.

With information from Jérôme Labbé

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