It was a rather unique and special meeting for me with Stéphan Bureau, whose mastery in directing interviews is phenomenal. He has done so many interviews with many great personalities of the world, but this time he will tell us about his youth.
His father, Robert, an idealist who wanted to change the world, taught him self-criticism, while his mother, Christine, 81 years old and still independent, made him discover a passion by making him aware of theater, music , literature and comics.
You are a native of Montreal, but you also lived in France.
I was born in the neighborhood Notre-Dame-de-Grâce before moving a few weeks later to Hull, where my father completed his master's degree.
You subsequently lived for three years in Lyon, France.
This time, my father completed his doctorate. I don't have many specific memories, because I was 3 when I arrived and 6 when I returned to Quebec.
You traveled often in Europe.
We set out to explore several European countries. However, I have the impression that they were years filled with happiness.
In 1968, you went up to the barricades in Paris with your parents.
I was very young when students took to the streets to protest, and then the workers joined the students. My dad salvaged tear gas canister parts, which we brought home.
Your parents were teachers.
My late father, Robert, was a professor at the University of Montreal, while my mother taught elementary and CEGEP. Moreover, my mother, Christine, is a pioneer for early childhood courses in CEGEP.
You have moved 75 times.
My sisters, Arianne and Marie-France, and I have moved quite often. Moreover, if I compile the number of times I have lived in different residences, I believe I have made at least 75 moves so far in my life.
School, it was not a place you favored.
To be honest, I didn't like going to school. I was a rather disturbing student that in elementary school I was expelled not just from my class, but from the Sainte-Croix school board. I found myself in a school for children who had behavioral problems.
This episode changed your life.
Without a doubt, because keep in mind that I was in elementary school at the time and didn't want to be treated like an outcast, meaning someone who was socially excluded and looked down upon by a group.
You regret not having played a team sport.
I did not like school, so I organized activities at school. I loved horse riding. I practiced several individual sports, but my regret is not having been part of a sports team. I believe that a team sport is very formative in a person's life.
You suffered a major injury in taekwondo.
I liked to do taekwondo. I was 15 when I violently tore ligaments in my thighs. Fortunately, despite this childhood injury, today I can run and walk in the mountains, activities that I really enjoy.
At the age of 14 , you have become a young entrepreneur.
When I was younger, in elementary school, I was a street vendor before I decided to leave home at 14 to run my communications box. and events within the Salon du livre de Montréal as well as that of Québec. Among my responsibilities, I organized meetings with the authors.
The reality of business hit you hard: a personal bankruptcy.
Barely 16 years old, I had not yet finished high school; however, I learned from this personal bankruptcy to always have financial stability ahead of me.
You became your father's “roommate” again.
I went back to live at home with my father. We have lived so many beautiful moments sharing our different ideologies of life. What I remember the most from our conversations: defending my convictions.
How did you repay your creditors?
My grandfather hired me to work on his land, and I worked in a pharmacy for three years. These jobs allowed me to repay them as well as to complete my high school and my CEGEP in an accelerated way.
Between 18 and 30 years old, you did not have a driver's license.
No, I didn't drive a car. I was a correspondent in Washington for many years without having a car for my travels.
Pierre Nadeau and Normand Lester influenced your career.
The first time I met them individually, they didn't laugh at me. On the contrary, even though I was only 16, my childhood hero, Pierre Nadeau, and Normand Lester believed in me and respected my ambitions to become an international news correspondent.
I would like to discuss your career, but that is not the purpose of our meeting.
However, I would like to acknowledge the support of Radio-Canada, which opened its doors to me at the age of 13 to become one of the columnists for the show Téléjeans, which aimed at young people. A few years later, the leaders created a position specifically for me covering the Pope's visit to Montreal in 1984.
Your idols Ted Koppel and Peter Jennings intimidated you.
My dad and I listened to Ted Koppel, the host of ABC's Nightline, which launched in March 1980, while Canadian native Peter Jennings, was the only presenter of ABC World News Tonight from 1983 until his death from lung cancer in 2005. They were the only people who intimidated me. However, I have met many personalities.