Mr. Speaker, yesterday a truly great Quebecer and Canadian, painter Jean-Paul Riopelle, passed away.
This man, whom I knew personally, was also a close friend. He was a painter, yes, but also a true, independent and free man.
In signing Refus global , he fought against the post-war obscurantism in Quebec.
His paintings depicted wide open spaces, the fauna, and the wonders of nature, the islands of the St. Lawrence, the geese of Île-aux-Grues where he lived and painted, and also the icebergs of the far north.
For 40 years he lived in France, and he took up French citizenship. Yet he returned to finish his work and die in his birthplace, in the natural surroundings he loved so dearly. He is a great international painter who was an honour to our country, Canada.
Jean-Paul Riopelle was a man who had no time for political correctness. He was a model of independence and freedom for all Canadians who took a stand.
I extend my condolences to his family and friends.