Not any more

‘Quebec’s time will come’: Gilles Duceppe

In Canada on August 16, 2010 at 08:24

MONTREAL – Gilles Duceppe’s 4-year-old granddaughter, Jeanne, squirmed in her seat as the Bloc Québécois leader declared the future of the sovereignty movement depends on youth.

“Our youth forum has elected young people from the Bloc Québécois, the Parti Québécois and Québec Solidaire to say, ‘We must reflect together (on how to achieve sovereignty),’” Duceppe told 700 cheering supporters who attended a tribute to the the Bloc leader Sunday at Place des Arts’ Jean Duceppe Theatre.

Parti Québécois leader Pauline Marois, former premier Jacques Parizeau, Québec Solidaire MNA Amir Khadir and municipal opposition leaders Louise Harel and Richard Bergeron were among prominent Quebecers who attended the celebration of Duceppe’s 20 years as a member of Parliament.

Duceppe, 63, was elected as an independent in a 1990 by-election, before the Bloc acquired official party status, and became Bloc leader in 1997.

In an emotional speech, Duceppe saying he was touched to be honoured in the theatre named after his late father, a beloved actor and proponent of Quebec independence.

“Quebec’s time will come,” said Duceppe, vowing to continue to crusade “with determination and passion to build a sovereign and proud Quebec.”

He denied that support for sovereignty is flagging among youth, pointing to a meeting of 300 young sovereignists at the Université du Québec à Montréal over the weekend – the largest youth rally for sovereignty since 1995.

Party vice-president Vivian Barbot announced the creation of the Gilles Duceppe Award for young sovereignists.

Two bursaries of $7,500 each and two of $2,500 each will be presented each year to four students or young workers who show initiative in promoting sovereignty, Barbot said.

Duceppe called for an inclusive form of Quebec nationalism, quipping that he himself is “a bloke who became a Bloc” because his grandfather was an English “home child” – one of thousands of young British orphans sent to Canada as farm workers and domestics.

Singers Marc Hervieux and Marie-Josée Lord performed “Je chante avec toi liberté” by Verdi with two choirs from Duceppe’s riding, Laurier-Ste. Marie.

The Bloc leader credited his parents as a source of inspiration for his political commitment and thanked his supportive family, including his three grandchildren: blond Jeanne Duceppe, her brother Émile, 7, and their 6-month-old cousin, Luca Furoy.

© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette

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