We are deeply saddened to inform you of the passing May 27th of Comrade Pierre Fontaine. Pierre died unexpectedly of a heart attack while in hospital recovering from an infection in his leg.
Comrade Pierre Fontaine was the Leader of the Parti communiste du Quebec for the past 15 years, and a member of the Central Committee and Central Executive Committee of the Communist Party of Canada for more than 20 years. Throughout this time, he worked hard to build the Communist Party in Quebec after its liquidation in 1991, and attempted annexation in 2005 by petit bourgeois nationalists.
Comrade Fontaine’s leadership was marked by his consistent struggle for working class unity and internationalism, and against both narrow nationalism, racism and big nation chauvinism. These were the conditions he understood were necessary for the working class victory over capitalism, for socialism.
Comrade Fontaine also understood the need for a revolutionary theory and a revolutionary party for the working class to succeed in its historic role. A worker himself and for many years a leader in Quebec’s trade union movement, Comrade Fontaine was also a Marxist Leninist theoretician, educator, writer and strategist who guided the Party with a steady hand during all of his years in leadership.
Comrade Fontaine made it a personal, as well as a political priority to re-establish the French language Party press in Quebec, writing articles and editorials, and translating and publishing articles from the international Communist press and from the Party press in English-speaking Canada. He campaigned hard to build the readership of “Clarte”, named after the Party publication banned by the far-right Duplessis government under the padlock law in the 1930s.
Comrade Fontaine had extensive links in the labour movement where he worked for many years as a hospital worker and a militant in the CSN, and was elected Vice President of the Fédération de la santé et des services sociaux (FSSS). He always had the support of the shop-floor workers because of his class-based orientation and leadership and his patient and clear explanations of policies, tactics, and global and local events to workers. He was involved in many hard-fought strikes and labour struggles, working for the labour movement during his retirement as an educator for a new generation of trade unionists. He was also co-chair of the Communist Party’s Central Trade Union Commission.
Comrade Fontaine was a founding member of the UFP, the forerunner of Quebec Solidaire, and a strong fighter for labour and people’s unity in the struggle for social and political emancipation. He linked these struggles, and was himself a militant fighter for peace, for national, racial, and gender equality and solidarity. He linked the fight for fundamental reforms with the fight for socialism and working-class internationalism throughout his life. He was an exemplary Communist and he will be deeply missed by his comrades in Quebec and across Canada.
The Central Committee sends its deepest sympathy and condolences to Pierre’s much-loved children, comrades Marianne and Dominque, and to his dearly loved son Laurent and grandson Zavier.
Communist Party of Canada