With great sadness the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) informs you that our Comrade Alain Charette passed away on the afternoon of August 14, 2018, at the age of 61. Alain found out in December that he was riddled with cancer when he went for a checkup for back pain. He died peacefully, surrounded by family in Montebello, Quebec. Alain was profoundly admired and deeply loved because he devoted his life to humanizing the natural and social environment by elevating the lives of his fellow human beings to the best of his ability no matter what.
Alain joined the Party while a science student at the Cégep de l’Outaouais in the early ’70s when he joined the fight of the students against the reform of the loans and bursaries system and to build the students’ defence organizations. In 1978, he responded to the call to consolidate the Party’s technical base and became an assistant pressman. He subsequently became a bus driver and for 35 years he worked first at the Société de transport de l’Outaouais in Gatineau then with OC Transpo in Ottawa until his illness took over his life.
Alain participated in the projects the Party advanced since the mid-’70s, including against political persecution and for democratic rights in the ’80s and the actions against wars of aggression and occupation since then. Since the ’90s, he took up the fight-back against the neo-liberal anti-social offensive which hit Ontario with a vengeance with the election of Mike Harris in 1995 and then also his beloved Quebec. He embraced the program to Stop Paying the Rich and Increase Investments in Social Programs and to vest sovereignty in the people.
Alain had two other passions: scouting, where for more than 25 years he took care of the Beavers, the little ones aged five to seven, and first aid as a licensed first aid and emergency preparedness trainer.
In the community he will remain a model of social responsibility for rising to the defence of a woman subjected to an Islamophobic attack on his bus in 2016. He confronted the abuser and sternly informed him: “If you have a problem with this lady, then you have a problem with me.” For his action in defence of the rights of all, not only was the Muslim community in Ottawa truly grateful but so too his fellow bus drivers. Alain became a hero in their eyes but his own take on his action was that he was just doing his job. When interviewed by various newspapers he decided to convey the message that no one should feel threatened on public transit because of their identity and it is important for others to intervene when this happens. In an interview with CBC Ottawa News, he said, “Basically we are just people taking care of people.”
“Bigotry hurts everyone by lowering the humanity level of society. Sitting idle is not an option. You are either part of the problem or on the side of the solution,” Alain said in an interview with Huffington Post Canada.
The Muslim Link hailed Alain’s courage by inviting him to the annual Harmony Iftar, which brings together Muslims and non-Muslims to learn about Ramadan, where he received a moving standing ovation. The support prompted letters of commendation from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, as well as the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM).
Later, when the Muslim Link saw how ill he had become, they collected money from the community during Ramadan and provided him with a special lift chair to help him deal with his condition. The lift chair makes it easier to go from sitting to standing with the support of a walker. Alain’s doctor had prescribed this chair but his insurance and government programs did not cover it. Alain was very moved when he received the chair.
Among his workmates, Alain will be remembered for his professional integrity, optimism and kindness. His Party will always treasure all he did but especially the social love he always showed his comrades and the ways he found to provide for their needs and those of the Party. Amongst the youth this earned him the nickname Santa Claus because he always showed up with what they needed when they needed it. For him, it was the natural thing to do. He would always take the high road, activate the human factor/social consciousness and not permit the level of culture, political or other, to be lowered despite the pressure imposed on the people to fend for themselves.
A member of the Marxist-Leninist Party since the ’70s, Alain always proudly renewed his membership. “It’s an honor for me to count myself as one of us, together taking up this work of historic significance,” he said.
Before Alain passed away, he received the message from the Party leadership expressing the pride of the Party for his contribution. We transmit our heartfelt condolences to his wife Suzanne, his children Chloé, Guillaume and Méloïse, other members of his family and his colleagues and friends.
Alain, your name will appear on the Party Memorial in Beechwood Cemetery in Ottawa along with those of other Party Comrades who have passed away. You joined the Party to make sure the democratic personality emerges in the battle to vanquish the Old and build the New. We salute you.
Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist)
August 15, 2018
Farewell to Alain Charette
Saturday, August 25 — 6:00-8:00 pm
Coopérative funéraire de l’Outaouais,
1369 Boulevard de la Vérendrye Ouest, Gatineau
See video of television news coverage of Alain here.