Raymond Gravel

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Raymond Gravel
Raymond Gravel.jpg
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Repentigny
In office
2006 – 2008
Preceded byBenoît Sauvageau
Succeeded byNicolas Dufour
Personal details
Born(1952-11-04)November 4, 1952
Saint-Damien-de-Brandon, Quebec
DiedAugust 11, 2014(2014-08-11) (aged 61)
Lanaudière, Quebec
Political partyBloc Québécois
ResidenceRepentigny, Quebec

Raymond Gravel (November 4, 1952 – August 11, 2014) was a Catholic priest from the Canadian province of Quebec, who was formerly the Member of Parliament for the riding of Repentigny, as a member of the Bloc Québécois. He was elected to the House of Commons in a November 27, 2006 by-election following the death of Benoît Sauvageau.

As a young man Gravel worked in bars in Montreal's Gay Village; he has been open about the fact that he was a sex-trade worker during that time.[1] He entered the seminary in 1982 and became a priest. Gravel is controversial among the Catholic clergy and laity for his support of abortion rights, euthanasia and same-sex marriage, three issues officially opposed by the Church. He was most recently a priest at St-Joachim de la Plaine Church in La Plaine, Quebec.

He was acclaimed as the Bloc's candidate on October 29, 2006. He received a dispensation from Gilles Lussier, Bishop of Joliette, to enter politics. Elected with a large majority in the Bloc stronghold, he became the Bloc critic for seniors' issues.

However, following his opposition to Bill C-484, which would have recognized injury of a fetus during a crime as a separate offence from an injury to the mother, and his support for Dr. Henry Morgentaler receiving the Order of Canada, Gravel was ordered by the Vatican to either give up the priesthood or leave politics, and he finally announced he would not run in the 2008 election, saying that the priesthood was his life.[2] He cited as his biggest regret his inability to pass his private member's bill C-490, which aimed to improve seniors' access to guaranteed income supplements.[3]

He was removed from a position as a catechist in the Quebec Diocese of Joliette during 2010. Gravel then launched a lawsuit against the LifeSiteNews (LSN) agency, a project of the Campaign Life Coalition, for $500,000 in damages.[4] In his motion, Gravel suggests that articles on the LSN website caused him to lose this responsibility. Gravel stated that LSN misrepresented him by identifying him as 'pro-abortion' while he identified himself as 'pro-choice'.[5] In the past he had made some conflicting statements on abortion: in an interview with Radio-Canada, he stated: "I am pro-choice and there is not a bishop on Earth that will prevent me from receiving communion, not even the Pope" and later he changed his stance stating: "I am against abortion, but I am not in favour of the pro-life campaign that condemns all women who get an abortion."[6]

In 2014, he died of lung cancer. He was 61.[7]

Electoral record[edit]

Canadian federal by-election, November 27, 2006: Repentigny
Party Candidate Votes % Expenditures
Bloc Québécois Raymond Gravel 20,635 66.26 $84,032
Conservative Stéphane Bourgon 5,822 18.69 $46,980
New Democratic Réjean Bellemare 2,187 7.02 $34,699
Liberal Christian Turenne 1,940 6.23 $15,043
     Independent Jocelyne Leduc 390 1.25 $45
Canadian Action Mahmood Raza Baig 91 0.29 $5,641
     Independent Régent Millette 78 0.25 none listed
Total valid votes 31,143 100.00
Total rejected ballots 493
Turnout 31,636 37.06
Electors on the lists 85,366


  1. ^ Montreal Gazette: "Controversial priest wants Bloc Repentigny nomination" Archived 2007-03-11 at the Wayback Machine. The Gazette, October 25, 2006.
  2. ^ "Priest MP leaves politics after pressure from Vatican". CBC News, September 3, 2008.
  3. ^ "Le député Gravel ne sera pas candidat". La Presse, September 3, 2008.
  4. ^ "LifeSiteNews sued"
  5. ^ Hamilton, Graeme (5 Mar 2011). "Two solitudes; Lawsuit pits rebel Quebec priest against hardline pro-life news service". National Post. p. 6.
  6. ^ Langan, Fred (August 11, 2014). "Activist priest Raymond Gravel preached gospel of tolerance". The Guardian.
  7. ^ "Father Raymond Gravel, outspoken social activist, dies". CBC News. August 11, 2014. Retrieved September 18, 2014.

External links[edit]