Montreal vs ROQ: Homophobia in the Quebec Election
Last week, it was his cocaine use, this week, it's his homosexuality. Sadly, the issue that I predicted would dog André Boisclair on the campaign trail has indeed come up, raised by a shock-jock radio host in the Saguenay, where another openly gay candidate, Sylvain Gaudreault, is running for the PQ in Jonquière.
For a campaign which started off nasty, things just seem to be getting worse and worse, and the main beneficiary of the turmoil appears to be the ADQ, which is making huge gains in Quebec City and the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean region, if you believe the polls.
My read on this isn't that it's the fact that Boisclair is gay that is the central issue. As Chantal Hébert has pointed out in her new book French Kiss, which I started devouring last night, it's the fact that Boisclair is so emblematic of urban Montreal, and by extension, so appears the PQ. As we saw in the last federal election, Canadian politics appears to increasingly be reflecting a split in political (and social) values along urban-rural lines. In Quebec, this is why we see the issues of multiculturalism (or interculturalism, as it's called there), and sexuality being used as wedge issues.
Progressive Canadians should be very concerned about this trend. Rural and small-town Canada is better represented in the legislatures on a per-capita basis than the cities are, and those discontented voices will be able to flex their muscle if a) we leave the distribution of seats as it currently stands, and b) more effort isn't made to spread progressive values in smaller communities.Recommend this Post