Yves Michaud (1930-2024) | An “early independence activist” dies

Journalist, politician and businessman Yves Michaud, nicknamed the “Robin of Banks”, has died at the age of 94.

Mr. Michaud died Tuesday evening at the Notre-Dame-de-la-Paix residence in Montreal, where he lived. The news was reported by Radio-Canada on Wednesday morning. The causes of his death have not been specified.

“Yves Michaud was a true fighter,” Prime Minister François Legault underlined on Wednesday.

Throughout his career, he fought to protect the French language and Quebec culture. He also came to the defense of small shareholders, he was nicknamed the “Robin of the banks”.

François Legault, Premier of Quebec

The leader of the Bloc Québécois, Yves-François Blanchet, said Wednesday of Mr. Michaud that he was “the very incarnation of the pugnacious, intransigent, rigorous, impatient activist and with a heavy heart in the hope of touching on the country of Quebec, a country that he wanted to serve the people rather than high finance,” he said.


Yves Michaud was general director of the newspaper The homeland from 1962 to 1966.

The PQ leader, Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, for his part underlined the fact that he was an “independentist from the start” loving social justice.

Born in Saint-Hyacinthe in 1930, Yves Michaud initially made a career in the world of journalism. He was notably editor-in-chief and general director of the newspaper The homeland from 1962 to 1966.

In 1966, he made the leap into politics and was elected Liberal MP for Gouin. Disagreeing with the tabling of a bill on the French language, he slammed the door in 1969, and sat as an independent. Defeated in 1970, he then tried unsuccessfully to be elected under the banner of the Parti Québécois in Bourassa in 1973.

“A loss for Quebec”

Mr. Michaud also held various diplomatic functions and left his mark in the public service. He worked as High Commissioner for Cooperation at the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs and held the seat of Quebec Delegate General in Paris from 1979 to 1984.

Yves Michaud also founded the Shareholder Education and Defense Movement (MEDAC) in 1995, intended to assert the rights of small shareholders against financial institutions, which earned him his famous nickname.


Yves Michaud, March 15, 2002

Former PQ minister Claude Morin knew Yves Michaud in the 1960s. “He had become a personal friend. He was an alert character, he asked himself questions, he came up with solutions. He was a sincere, honest man. It’s a loss for Quebec,” he said.

Mr. Michaud was also a “very great friend” of René Lévesque. “We played cards together here at home,” remembers Mr. Morin.

Martine Tremblay, who was the last of René Lévesque’s chiefs of staff, remembers that Yves Michaud was capable of being “funny and incisive”, particularly in the presence of Mr. Lévesque.

(Yves Michaud) was one of the few to speak informally to René Lévesque, who addressed him informally in return, even though he spoke informally to practically no one. They had a relationship that could be sometimes hot, sometimes cold, but they had a great familiarity.

Martine Tremblay, former chief of staff of René Lévesque

Louise Harel, former leader of the opposition and minister of the Parti Québécois, notes that Mr. Michaud was a “generous” man who helped her in her career. “I was able to benefit from his advice in Paris, because I went there a few times as president of the National Assembly. He was an accessible man, of great simplicity. »

“The villainous motion”

Yves Michaud died without having received an apology from the National Assembly for a “villainous motion”, which unfairly accused him of having made anti-Semitic remarks, in 2000.

That year, the National Assembly unanimously adopted, without notice or debate, a motion to condemn anti-Semitic remarks that Mr. Michaud did not make.


Yves Michaud, during the annual meeting of the Bank of Montreal, in Toronto, February 22, 2005

Quebec Solidaire MP Ruba Ghazal, who presented a medal from the National Assembly to Mr. Michaud two years ago, said she “regrets that the National Assembly never repaired the error it made” in place of “a great Quebecois”. Paul St-Pierre Plamondon is of the same opinion.

Several elected officials of the time have since apologized, but not the National Assembly.

In a letter published in 2021, former Prime Minister Pauline Marois and around thirty former elected officials, such as the liberal Jean-Marc Fournier and the PQ François Gendron, asked the National Assembly to repair this error.

“These comments were not verified beforehand and Mr. Michaud did not have the opportunity to be heard by the National Assembly, contrary to the fundamental requirements of respect for the right to justice,” noted the authors.

This “villainous motion” was one of the battles of his life. In 2020, in interview with The Press, he deplored that “the National Assembly, in 20 years, has not found a single moment to apologize”. He then lost hope of receiving an apology before his death. “I feel like I’m going to take this crap to my grave,” he said.

Read the column “Yves Michaud’s last chance”

In 2020, a motion was tabled by the Parti Québécois to erase this error, but the Coalition Avenir Québec refused its tabling. Minister Martine Biron said that the fact that Mr. Michaud never obtained compensation pained him. “It’s true that I should have made up my mind about that. That was his big wish,” she said.

With the collaboration of Hugo Pilon-Larose, The Press

Yves Michaud in six steps


Birth in Saint-Hyacinthe

1962 to 1966

Managing Director of the newspaper The homeland


Election in the riding of Gouin as deputy for the Liberal Party of Quebec

1979 to 1984

General Delegate of Quebec in Paris


Founded the Shareholder Education and Defense Movement


Died in Montreal at the age of 94

reference: www.lapresse.ca

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