Politician drops plan for legislature tribute to late FLQ member

QUEBEC – A Quebec politician has abandoned a plan to table a motion in the legislature in recognition of Paul Rose, the convicted FLQ kidnapper who died yesterday.

A spokesman for the fourth-party Quebec solidaire says Amir Khadir has changed his mind.

“The subject does open up old wounds in Quebec and it would create a controversy,” party spokesman Christian Dubois said Friday.

“Out of respect for the families involved, those of Paul Rose and Pierre Laporte, it’s wiser to not table a motion.”

Rose was convicted in the kidnapping and murder of the former provincial cabinet minister, Laporte, at the height of the 1970 October Crisis.

A later government report concluded he hadn’t been present at the moment Laporte died, and Rose continues to have some supporters who argue that his reputation has been unfairly tarnished.

Rose refused to renounce his FLQ past but, after leaving prison in 1981, he channelled his energies into activist causes, organized labour, and politics.

He also led a party that joined the left-wing coalition that eventually became Quebec solidaire, which now has two elected members.

Khadir had been acting as the co-leader of Quebec solidaire, after he became the first person elected under its banner; he has relinquished that role since the last election.

He told The Canadian Press on Thursday that he wanted to submit a motion in the national assembly next week so that parliamentarians could express themselves on Rose.

Khadir had wanted to offer his condolences to the ex-FLQ member’s family. The party did put out a written statement expressing its condolences not only to the family, but also to the activists who “had the pleasure” of working alongside Rose over the years.

The governing Parti Quebecois, conversely, refused to say a single word following the death. The PQ founder, Rene Levesque, was a friend of Laporte’s and he described the people who killed him as sub-human.

The original statements from Khadir had triggered an avalanche of reaction, including some support, in social media. But there was also much criticism.

“Rene Levesque would be ashamed of these efforts to glorify a killer, Paul Rose,” a Liberal politician, Gerry Sklavounos, tweeted.

Rose died of a stroke Thursday at age 69.

A statement said his family read nationalist poems to him as he passed away in a Montreal hospital.