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From 1995: When a Quebec MP made an ugly comment about Hull

It was a Hull of a thing for an MP to say, and it didn't exactly go unnoticed.

'Even if it would be true, you don't say things like this about a city in your own province'

An ugly comment about Hull, Que.

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26 years ago
2:22
In 1995, a BQ MP apologized for some remarks she made about Hull, Que. 2:22

It was a Hull of a thing for an MP to suggest, and it didn't exactly go unnoticed in la belle province.

Bloc Québécois MP Suzanne Tremblay had said the Quebec city on the other side of the river from Ottawa was the ugliest of its kind — in the world, in fact.

And that's why she found herself making an apology about her remarks in the House of Commons in March of 1995.

"To the people of Hull, I again offer my most sincere apologies," she said, according to an English translation of her apology that can be found on the House of Commons website.

A sign welcoming visitors to Hull, Que., is seen in March of 1995. (The National/CBC Archives)

Tremblay's remarks were apparently intended to draw attention to a lack of spending on the city by the National Capital Commission.

Yet whatever Tremblay's aim was, her comments didn't sit well with her fellow Quebecers, regardless of how they themselves did or did not feel about Hull.

"Even if it would be true, you don't say things like this about a city in your own province," said Claude Lemay, the deputy mayor of Hull, who called Tremblay's remarks "plainly stupid."

'Hull is not that bad'

This man told the CBC's Julie van Dusen that "Hull is not that bad." (The National/CBC Archives)

Bloc Leader Lucien Bouchard, also the MP for Lac-Saint-Jean, also disapproved of what had been said about Hull.

"Those are very unhappy comments, which I think was wrong," he told reporters in Ottawa. "They had to be."

The people living in Hull weren't impressed either, even if they all weren't necessarily effusive with praise for their city.

"That's not a good comment you know, really?" said a man leaning against the veranda of a home in Hull. "It's close to the capital, you know. Hull is not that bad."

Some business owners showed their pride for their city on banners that proclaimed, in both official languages, that they were "proud to be ugly."

In 2002, an amalgamation process made Hull part of Gatineau, Que.

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