|11 December 2009 - Montfort is losing a great defender and a untiring militant of the Franco- Ontarian community – Senator Jean-Robert Gauthier has left us|
Senator Gauthier was also an honorary member of the Association of the Hôpital Montfort.
On hearing the news of his death, Mr. Gilles Morin, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, said: "We are saddened by the departure of this great man who is an immeasurable loss to the Franco-Ontarian community. I have personally known Jean-Robert Gauthier for over 40 years. We have been colleagues for a long time and we worked together on several projects. He has always been a role model for me. We worked together at the Assemblée parlementaire de la francophonie where I observed his determination and conviction towards the Francophone communities. "
Senator Gauthier was one of the great defenders of Montfort. At the outbreak of the crisis in February 1997, he delivered a clear message: "Be united. If we divide, we lose the war. We are at home in Ontario and we have the right to be served in French. Let us be united and let us affirm our solidarity, and we will win. " This message had been heard until the Montfort victory before the Ontario Court of Appeal, on December 7, 2001.
Let’s remember also his presence on the stage of the Ottawa Civic Center, during the Grand Rassemblement of the 10 000 Franco-Ontarians, on March 22, 1997. As so aptly written by the journalist Michel Gratton in his book Montfort, la lutte d'un peuple : "When he came on stage, the euphoria that had already invaded the 10 000 turned to mass hysteria. People cheered, they were crying, laughing and shouting. It was the most powerful moment I’ve ever experienced in my entire life. Jean-Robert, who just weeks earlier, could not even use his hands, was holding a small Franco- Ontarian flag in his hand. He was accompanied by his wife of 40 years of marriage, Monique. The applause seemed endless."
Flags in front of the Montfort Hospital, are flown at half mast to remember this great man.