|Member of the Canadian Parliament|
2006 – 2008
|Preceded by||Benoît Sauvageau|
|Succeeded by||Nicolas Dufour|
|Born||November 4, 1952|
|Died||August 11, 2014 (aged 61)|
|Political party||Bloc Québécois|
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. 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. 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.
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. 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'. 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."
In 2014, he died of lung cancer. He was 61.
|RepentignyCanadian federal by-election, November 27, 2006:|
|Bloc Québécois||Raymond Gravel||20,635||66.26||$84,032|
|New Democratic||Réjean Bellemare||2,187||7.02||$34,699|
|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|
|Electors on the lists||85,366|
|Wikinews has related news: Liberals, BQ, win Canadian by-elections|
- Montreal Gazette: "Controversial priest wants Bloc Repentigny nomination" Archived 2007-03-11 at the Wayback Machine. The Gazette, October 25, 2006.
- "Priest MP leaves politics after pressure from Vatican". CBC News, September 3, 2008.
- "Le député Gravel ne sera pas candidat". La Presse, September 3, 2008.
- "LifeSiteNews sued"
- Hamilton, Graeme (5 Mar 2011). "Two solitudes; Lawsuit pits rebel Quebec priest against hardline pro-life news service". National Post. p. 6.
- Langan, Fred (August 11, 2014). "Activist priest Raymond Gravel preached gospel of tolerance". The Guardian.
- "Father Raymond Gravel, outspoken social activist, dies". CBC News. August 11, 2014. Retrieved September 18, 2014.