Former Bloc Quebecois leader Michel Gauthier was MP for 20 years, first for the riding of Roberval in Quebec’s Saguenay Lac-Saint Jean region between 1997 and 2004 and then for the new riding of Roberval-Lac-Saint-Jean until 2007. CP photo

Ex-Bloc Quebecois leader, longtime Quebec politician Michel Gauthier dead at 70

He was fighting cancer

Former Bloc Quebecois leader Michel Gauthier has died at age 70 after a battle with lung cancer.

“Michel died in the arms of his wife and two children, his soul at peace,” Gauthier’s family said in a statement on Saturday.

Gilles Duceppe, the long-time former Bloc leader, spoke regularly with Gauthier, who’d announced last year he was fighting cancer.

“I spoke to him last week, he knew he didn’t have a lot of time left because of his illness, we spoke about life and politics, there were moments that weren’t easy,” Duceppe told The Canadian Press.

Duceppe remembered Gauthier as a good teacher who knew how to easily explain things concretely.

“He was a go-getter, it’s sad to lose him so soon,” Duceppe said. “I had great moments by his side. Beyond the differences we could have, we wanted, both of us, that Quebec move forward.”

Gauthier was MP for 20 years, first for the riding of Roberval in Quebec’s Saguenay Lac-Saint Jean region between 1997 and 2004 and then for the new riding of Roberval-Lac-Saint-Jean until 2007.

He was one of the most recognizable Bloc members, at one time serving as house leader.

During the 2019 fall federal election campaign, he briefly joined the Conservatives to help organize the party’s Quebec efforts, saying he’d renounced sovereignty but remained a Quebec nationalist.

He announced his departure due to illness in May 2019.

Current Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet offered his support to Gauthier’s family.

“On behalf of myself and Bloc Quebecois MPs, I extend my sincere condolences to the many friends and relatives of Michel Gauthier. I wish them the courage that he has shown in his fight against the disease,” Blanchet wrote on Twitter.

Gauthier, who lived in Gatineau, Que., was born Feb. 18, 1950.

He began in provincial politics and was first elected to Quebec’s national assembly as a member of the Parti Quebecois in 1981 and was re-elected in 1985 in the provincial riding of Roberval.

During his time in provincial politics, he served as parliamentary secretary to Jacques Parizeau, who was Quebec’s finance minister.

He was head of the local school board in Roberval between 1988 and 1993 before making the leap to federal politics.

When former Bloc leader Lucien Bouchard left the federal party to return to provincial politics in Quebec, Gauthier was tapped to lead the sovereigntist party from 1996 to 1997, a time when it was the official Opposition.

When Duceppe was elected Bloc leader in 1997, Gauthier was appointed house leader, returning to the job he’d held under Bouchard.

After politics, Gauthier also spent some time working in media as host of the show “Gauthier” on the now defunct French-language network TQS.

Gauthier is survived by his wife Anne Allard, his children Isabelle and Alexandre and their families, his wife’s daughters Natacha and Katia, and their grandchildren.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Library column: October is only a few days away!

Culture Days will be back next September, so keep watch for future announcements

Stettler Food Bank in solid shape thanks to community support

A hike in demand is expected in the coming months

UPDATED: Red Deer has nine active COVID-19 cases

Number of cases increased by 107 Friday

Man sentenced to 7 years for gas-and-dash death of Alberta gas station owner

Ki Yun Jo was killed after Mitchell Sydlowski sped off in a stolen cube van without paying for $198 of fuel

Staff at Stettler Auction Mart keeping busy despite pandemic restrictions

‘We have a lot of technology nowadays so it’s made it a little bit easier to deal with something like this, that’s for sure.’

Notley to stay on as Alberta NDP leader for 2023 provincial election

The NDP took almost all of Edmonton but few seats outside of the city

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

“My world exploded,” says Bentley-area farmer who’s swather was struck by a motorist

Dennis Duncan was a mile from home when his swather was struck by another travelling at high speeds

Local feral cat rescue looking for support

Bottle drive being held in Bashaw

UPDATE: Last kidnapping suspect arrested

Amber Knickle has been arrested and remains in police custody

B.C., Alberta sending nearly 300 fire personnel by Friday to help battle wildfires in Oregon

Some 230 firefighters, most from British Columbia but including a number from Alberta, will be deployed Friday

Death of mother grizzly a ‘big loss’ for bear population in Banff park: experts

The bear, known as No. 143, spent most of her time in the backcountry of Banff

Most Read