Mr. Speaker, on January 10, André Caron, member of Parliament for Jonquière, died after a long battle with cancer. He was our friend, and we were profoundly saddened by this loss.
Mr. Caron was deeply religious and looked forward to a full recovery, in spite of his condition. He fought with all his might to the very end. His courage in facing his illness was an example to us all.
Mr. Caron was born in Jonquière in 1944. After studying educational counselling and teaching at Laval University and theology at the University of Quebec in Chicoutimi, he worked for the greater part of his life for the Jonquière school board as a guidance counsellor.
His political career started in 1990 when he became president of the Parti Québécois riding association in Jonquière. Then, in 1993, he was elected to the House of Commons as a member of the Bloc Quebecois.
Mr. Caron was ordained a deacon in 1988 before becoming responsible for all deacons in the diocese of Chicoutimi and serving on the provincial executive of the diaconate. A member of Amnesty International and the Civil Liberties Union, Mr. Caron was involved in a number of organizations throughout his life and was unstinting in his desire to help others.
André Caron was a sensitive man, a good listener, a man with great tact, a man who was very human, modest and generous. He strongly believed wealth should be shared, and he felt it was his mission to speak for the most vulnerable, the poor and those who are not always able to defend themselves. He was a citizen with a cause.
Mr. Caron is an example to all members of this House. He wanted to represent the people of his riding as well as he could, and his views show he was a man of ideas. His convictions were more important to him that his personal interests. Quebec and Canada have lost a parliamentarian of integrity.
André Caron was a staunch sovereignist. He never doubted the ability of Quebecers to build their own future. The people of Jonquière trusted him. He was respected by everyone because of his commitment to his constituents, and many people mourned his passing. Our thoughts go out today to those who loved him and supported him in his long battle against illness.
On behalf of all members of the Bloc Quebecois, I wish to offer his wife Marie Lévesque and his sons, Jean-François and Louis-Philippe, our sincere condolences. With them we mourn the loss of our friend André Caron.