Po­lit­i­cal hope­ful’s ri­val in Pap­ineau has in­ter­est­ing past

Vi­vian Barbot has ties to Haiti’s Papa Doc

National Post (Latest Edition) - - News -

Vi­vian Barbot, a new­comer to the po­lit­i­cal scene, cap­tured the Pap­ineau rid­ing for the Bloc Québé­cois in last Jan­uary’s fed­eral elec­tion, a ma­jor vic­tory for the sep­a­ratist party. Not only did Ms. Barbot de­feat Lib­eral Cabi­net min­is­ter Pierre Pettigrew, she ended a string of Lib­eral vic­to­ries stretch­ing back to 1953.

The vic­tory was a nail-biter, how­ever. Mr. Pettigrew won the rid­ing over a Bloc can­di­date by fewer than 500 votes in 2004; Ms. Barbot topped the bal­lot by fewer than 1,000.

Grand­daugh­ter of Cres­cent Jean-Baptiste, a Haitian no­table she de­scribes as hav­ing been a pros­per­ous landowner, judge and sen­a­tor, Ms. Barbot is less forth­com­ing about her late fa­ther. Cle­ment Barbot, a 1989 New Yorker mag­a­zine re­port said, was the “ruth­less” head of the Ton­tons Ma­coutes death squads of Haitian Pres­i­dent François (Papa Doc) Du­va­lier.

It is known — and this Ms. Barbot will say — that her fa­ther turned against the Du­va­lier dic­ta­tor­ship in the early 1960s, was im­pris­oned, re­leased and even­tu­ally as­sas­si­nated in 1963.

Her fam­ily spent 21 months liv­ing in the Ar­gen­tinian em- bassy for pro­tec­tion. In 1965, she left Haiti with her mother, brother and two sis­ters. They lived as ex­iles in Ar­gentina, where Ms. Barbot met and fell in love with a Que­bec tourist, Real Lym­burner. They mar­ried and set­tled in Mon­treal in 1967. A few years later, they moved to the East­ern Town­ships, where they raised their three chil­dren.

Ms. Barbot be­came a teacher and spent 20 years as a spe­cial­ist in French lit­er­a­ture at the CEGEP de Vic­to­ri­av­ille. In 2001, she re­tired to take up a high-profile post as the first vis­i­ble mi­nor­ity to be pres­i­dent of the Que­bec Fed­er­a­tion of Women. Then the Bloc came call­ing, and Ms. Barbot en­tered fed­eral pol­i­tics.

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