Friday, May 09, 2003

Sorry Lynn G. I know what you’re saying but Aron Ralston is enjoying too much attention to make it as this Friday’s Amputee of the Week. It’s the lesser-known leg-less and arm-less heroes who make into this Hall of Fame.

Instead we look towards Canada – home of ice hockey, maple syrup …and this week’s Amputee of the Week.

In the province of Quebec in the mid-1990s, the cause for independence from the rest of Canada was re-energised by one man -- Lucien Bouchard, the charismatic leader of the separatist Bloc Quebecois in the Canadian parliament.

In 1994, Bouchard became infected with the deadly strain of Group A streptococcus known as necrotizing fasciitis or “the flesh-eating disease." His leg was subsequently amputated.

Bouchard was a fiery orator who had long been Quebec's most popular politician. Nevertheless, the amputation further elevated him to near-hero status. Quebeckers flocked to hear him speak, chanted his name and struggled to shake his hand.

In the Globe and Mail newspaper, Ottawa bureaucrats were quoted as complaining that Bouchard's "suffering will make him a more formidable opponent, almost a mythic, tragic hero for the sovereignist side, impervious to partisan attacks."

For using amputation as a political weapon and for beating the flesh-eating bug: Lucien Bouchard -- nous vous saluons!!

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