BloguesVoix publique

Royalement égal à lui-même…



L'homme, avouons-le, est d'une constance tout à fait magnificiente.

Du tout début jusqu'à la fin du mandat de son illustre épouse, Jean-Daniel Lafond aura en effet réussi à demeurer royalement égal à lui-même…

Tel qu'en fait d'ailleurs amplement foi cette ultime entrevue avec L'Express, dans laquelle, entre autres choses, il parle de l'option souverainiste comme d'une «aberration géopolitique», alors que, ironiquement, son «boulot» constitue en partie d'accompagner la représentante d'une monarchie…


Maintenant, pour aller sur le «fond» de la question, les sorties percutantes de M. Lafond sur la question nationale depuis la nomination de son épouse comme G.G. en 2005, commandent surtout quelques rappels. Et ce, bien au-delà des «convictions» des uns et des autres sur la question constitutionnelle.

Voici d'ailleurs ce que j'en écrivais dans The Gazette en 2005 lors de cette nomination:

«It's perfectly legitimate for Jean's husband to change his mind and become a federalist – so why not say so?

The future governor-general, Michaelle Jean, and her husband, Jean-Daniel Lafond, finally came clean. Well, at least, one of them did, for sure.

To kill the controversy surrounding their alleged past sovereignist beliefs, Jean issued a press release saying they're "proud to be Canadians" and are "fully committed to Canada."

Oddly, the English and the French versions differed on a major point. In English, she wrote they never belonged to the "separatist movement." True enough.

But in French, Jean wrote they never adhered to the "sovereignist ideology." Belonging to a "movement," which implies political action, or simply believing in an ideology are two very different things. When it comes to beliefs, Jean can argue while she anchored Radio-Canada's news broadcast, she had to keep her beliefs private.

In Lafond's case, it's another story. As people who knew him well reported, Lafond, a philosopher and documentary filmmaker, came off with most colleagues and friends as someone who believed in Quebec's sovereignty.

What he wrote about Quebec independence in his 1993 book La manière nègre is unequivocal: "Yes, I applaud with both hands and I promise to attend all the St. Jean Baptiste parades." That's why in Lafond's case, many question the part in Jean's release about never adhering to the "sovereignist ideology."

But why say that? It's perfectly legitimate for Lafond to change his mind and become a federalist. And it would have been perfectly honest for him to say so. This would have allowed him to fulfill his future duty with serenity.

Surprisingly, he chose the revisionist route, to put it mildly. His denial of his past, as if there were anything wrong with having believed in Quebec sovereignty, is sure to leave negative traces. The saddest part is that it's sure to reflect on their work together as the vice-regal couple.

This point is important and it explains why the questions about his convictions are legitimate. Lafond isn't "just" a husband anymore. His duties will be very public. He, like his wife, will have to promote Canadian unity, sovereignty and diversity. That's part of the official job description.

If Lafond's political beliefs should have been considered private, as many commentators argued, then why did the Department of Canadian Heritage post both Jean's and Lafond's biographical notes as well as a picture of the happy couple under the heading "governor-general"?

It's because the role of the spouse is, in reality, as public and as official as that of the governor-general. That's why his choice to deny what was otherwise clear enough in La maniere negre will leave many who knew him with a feeling of sadness and great disappointment.

It's one thing to lie in the bed of Canadian unity and do it proudly. That's his right. But it's another to deny he never even came close to sleeping in the sovereignist one when the sheets are still ruffled.

In 2003, Lafond said this on Radio-Canada: "There should be an encyclopedia on lies in politics. The dialectical game is almost immediate between truth and lie. The strange part is the public suspects it's there. But it doesn't preclude lies from governing. It's that paradox I would like to understand."

It now looks as if Lafond has become part of that paradox.»


(*) Pour résumer, ce que j'avançais est qu'il serait parfaitement légitime pour JD Lafond d'avoir changé de point de vue sur la question nationale. Une évidence, quoi. Le problème, par contre, dès 2005, est qu'il nie même avoir flirté de très près avec l'option souverainiste, alors que certains de ses écrits passés laissent entendre le contraire…