HISTORICAL













 






IV. The Republican Party of Quebec



Defeated in the 1962 elections, nonetheless remained faithful to his idea and, in response to strong and numerous pressures within and outside the RIN, decided to found his own party, the
Republican Party of Quebec.

In December, Chaput spent a few days at my house in Trois-Rivières to discuss the RIN Mauricie, which at that time represented nearly half of all the RIN forces in Quebec. We promise to follow it without any hesitation! The split is consecrated. The RIN Mauricie is dead. Long live the Republican Party of Quebec!

The big leap
A few months later, in 1963, I left the CIP to become full-time national secretary of the Republican Party of Quebec. I leave my job for the sake of integrity, but I leave with fond memories of the IPC. Leaders have always treated me with respect. But something stronger attracts me; I want to play an active role in the future of Quebec.

I can now campaign freely for the cause of the independence of Quebec. I am 34 years old, the faith of the coalman and I am ready for a long and hard fight! As the PRQ has just opened an office in Quebec, I moved to the Palais Montcalm, to take charge of the secretariat, while stayed at 4270, rue Papineau, in Montreal, opposite the Center Immaculée-Conception.

The sinews of war
As soon as the Party offices opened, I was faced with the serious problem of funding. Despite the contributions that come in daily and the help we receive from the few French Canadian businessmen who dare to claim independence, we are in a vicious circle. Funding the cause takes all of our time and channels all of our energies. We are in the midst of a financial crisis! It must be said that the appearance of the FLQ does not help us. As the separatists were then all wrongly perceived as felquists, the sources of funding quickly dried up.

Hunger
strikes Aware of the problem, opts for a strategy and decides to put it into action. He goes on a hunger strike even though he knows full well that he will never really be supported by his fellow combatants. He will have to impose his decision, against all odds.

To tell me the news, he summons me to his office in Montreal on a Monday morning with a few other faithful. It is 8:30 am when we learn that he has not eaten since the day before and that he has just started a hunger strike.

is a non violent! For him, a hunger strike is a non-violent way of forcing French Canadians to reflect and to engage concretely in the financing of the cause of independence. At the same time, it was by machine gun bank robberies that FLQ members secured their funding.

At the time, I did not have a negative reaction to the hunger strike. On the contrary, I salute the courage and determination of . I understand very well that in order to achieve independence for Quebec, extraordinary means must be taken. As soon as the hunger strike was announced, I closed my office in Quebec to join Marcel in Montreal while my family moved to Boucherville.

But 's strike is far from unanimous. Everyone feels rushed. Despite the tensions, collections are organized across Quebec and the money is coming in. For me it is an unforgettable experience. We are not called upon every day to live with a man who imposes such a sacrifice on himself and who is visibly wasting away. I realize that is ready to do anything for the independence of Quebec.

During the strike I saw children, accompanied by their mother, empty their little pigs on 's desk to offer him their money and taxi drivers make a short stop when they were driving in front of 4270 Papineau to leave few dollars collected from their customers. And one day, a good mother arrives who asks to bless her little girl! It is to say the image which the man projects.

But it's not just money coming in. The mail also brings us daily letters of hatred, contempt and insults. This is the lot of the pioneers! This strike allows me to discover that we should not expect anything from our nationalist elite. Even the doctors, whom I consult occasionally to monitor Marcel's state of health, insist on remaining anonymous!

Despite the difficulties, the goal has been achieved. The fund is refloated. A few months later, the fund ran dry again and went on a second hunger strike. This latest attempt at peaceful financing seals the fate of the Republican Party of Quebec. It's the stampede and I find myself in the street with , without money and without work.

The Republican Front for Independence
By giving up the ghost, the Republican Party gives birth to the Republican Front for Independence (FRI). With this movement, we were going to be able to resume the fight under a different label and avoid the dispersal of the troops. So I find myself in action again at the headquarters of the Republican Front for Independence, on rue de Brébeuf, in Montreal. And this is where I lead my last fight for the independence of Quebec!

Today, I am still amazed to read what historians write about the IRF. In FLQ Histoire d'un mouvement clandestin (Lanctôt Éditeur), Louis Fournier tells me that the FRI was "a sort of populist socialist movement which had affinities with Peronism in Argentina". Better still, the FRI was “a curious amalgamation of left elements linked to Parti Pris and the former Socialist Action for Independence of Raoul Roy, and right-wing nationalists from the Republican Party of Chaput, see de the former Laurentian Alliance of Raymond Barbeau ”. In truth, the IRF was nothing more than a group of French Canadian independence patriots in their purest form, from the Republican Party of Quebec .

Following are some period images of the Republican Party of Quebec

Historical documents

 Under my signature (I am the national secretary of the party) and that of , Party leader, here is a copy of my founding member certificate.

Meeting of the Republican Party of Quebec , Montreal, 1963. From left to right: Tony Le Sauteur, . Photo: .

 

Meeting of the Republican Party of Quebec , Montreal, 1963. Left: Tony Le Sauteur. Far right: Germaine Perron, President of the Republican Women of Quebec . Towards the center: Jacqueline Dupont, member of the board of directors. Photo: . .

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