In private life we've all gone to funerals where the deceased is eulogized by a member of the clergy or by a family member and painted in the most positive and saintly light, only to have someone sitting near us mutter under his or her breath that the deceased was a right sonuvabitch, roundly despised by all.
Perhaps it's OK in private life to fudge the truth, but when the media glosses over the bad and leave a distorted impression of the truth, it behoves others to set the record straight. That is perhaps the greatest contribution that independent bloggers can provide and no, I'm not talking about myself.
I just read one of the best pieces on the death of Quebec labour leader Michel Chartrand written by blogger Martin Masse entitled Michel Chartrand, vieux communiste, vieux fasciste (longtime communist, longtime fascist) on the libertarian site Quebecois Libre.
If you read French and are interested in an honest and not so flattering view of the life of Michel Chartrand, read the article.
Michel Chartrand, a longtime Quebec union leader died this week and has been cast in almost all editorials and obituaries as a kooky firebrand that stood up for the little guy and fought the good fight.
Even the Montreal Gazette, after quoting his virulent antisemitism; "We don't want them(Jews) to pollute the atmosphere of this country, anymore" said;
"Extremes aside, however, Chartrand's passion for socialism and justice was genuine and unwavering." Montreal Gazette"Extremes Aside"? Ugh!!!
Who can summarize a person's lifework, without considering his extreme views and pronouncements?
Chartrand was a rabid fascist in his youth who matured into a dogmatic left-wing Marxist communist, somebody who agitated for the overthrow of our democratic system.
"The capitalist system is based on violence and it leads inevitably to violence. Currently, the government creates more violence against the unemployed, welfare recipients, people living in slums, youth, then all the guys who plant bombs can do against the property of the bourgeoisie. " -Michel ChartrandAfter spending a month in Castro's newly minted communist republic he waxed rhapsodic over what he described as paradise. He once gave a lecture in a Quebec City university extolling the virtues of Europe's most successful and desirable place to live- Albania.
"We are going to win because there are more boys ready to shoot Members of Parliament than there are policemen." -Michel ChartrandThe only thing that remained constant in his life was his love for his wife, his devotion to the Catholic Church and his hatred of Jews and Anglos. He was married to his wife by Quebec's most famous anti-Semite Abbé Lionel Groulx and contributed articles to fascist publications. He was a member of the entourage of Canada's number one fascist, Adrien Arcand who advocated publicly to isolate all the Jews in Hudson's Bay and who advocated to model Canada under the precepts of National Socialism. (Nazism)
After giving up his fascist views, Chartrand did a 180 degree turn and became a virulent Marxist-communist, who along with other Quebec labour leaders made a serious attempt to usurp power from the elected authority in the late sixties and seventies.
He was jailed in relation to union activity during a strike in Abitibi and during the October Crisis in 1970 he was imprisoned under the provisions of the War Measures Act. He was likely one of the few jailed under the Act that actually met the criteria for internment, after a seditious speech at a rally supporting the FLQ.
He stayed in jail for a full four months, longer than any other of the internees, the government fearful that he would use the crisis to take a clear run at the elected authority.
As pointed out in the piece by Mr. Masse, these facts are conveniently left out of the puff pieces that present Mr Chartrand in a positive light and replace the truth with a convenient and revisionist version of history.
I'm sure that when the time to write Jacques Parizeau's obituary, nobody will forget to include his famous faux pas in blaming "Money and the ethnic vote" for the defeat of the sovereignty referendum. History has already judged Parizeau harshly for his isolated gaffe. Compared to Chartrand, Parizeau is a model democrat.
Mr. Chartrand is getting a free pass from the press and his place in history is being sculpted in the great tradition of Lionel Groulx.
Perhaps we'll have a Metro station named after him.