You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

After backlash over hoodie, Québec solidaire says it's time to move on

The Gazette logo The Gazette 4 days ago Christopher Curtis, Montreal Gazette
a young man in a red shirt: Québec solidaire MNA Catherine Dorion. © Peter McCabe Québec solidaire MNA Catherine Dorion.

A day after Catherine Dorion was barred from the floor of the National Assembly for wearing a hooded sweatshirt, her party says it’s time to move on.

During her first year as the member for Taschereau, Dorion rose to speak more than 110 times in the assembly. She’s served as Québec solidaire’s official critic for youth, seniors, la francophonie, the French language, citizens relations and other issues that affect the 60,000 people in her riding.

And yet, her party alleges, the political world seems fixated on her fashion faux pas.

“We’ve answered the questions, we didn’t chose to make this an issue, (Liberal leader) Pierre Arcand did,” said Stéphanie Guévremont, a spokesperson for Québec solidaire. “It’s the other parties’ turn to weigh in on this so we can settle the issue and get to the business of government.”

Guévremont was referencing Arcand’s running commentary on Dorion’s decision to wear a skirt and jacket in the assembly. Dorion had posted a photo of herself on social media with the caption Happy Halloween, writing she chose to dress as an MNA this year.

Arcand alleged Dorion was breaching decorum and demanded the National Assembly’s president weigh in on the matter . On Thursday, a new scandal rocked the provincial capital.

Dorion’s latest transgression? The MNA was pressured to leave the Salon bleu because she chose to wear an orange hoodie. Guévremont says her party will meet with National Assembly president François Paradis next week to discuss possible revisions to the parliamentary dress code — which were already under consideration after an earlier outcry over Dorion’s dress.

Though she was also criticized by Parti Québécois leader Pascal Bérubé and other MNAs, Dorion drew support from in and outside the province Thursday. In a Facebook post, the Ottawa-based Broadbent Institute wrote that it “stands in solidarity” with the Taschereau MNA.

Related Facebook post

Shared from Facebook

“Women should never have their appearance policed,” the statement reads.

Montreal city councillor Lisa Christensen said she has “a lot of empathy” for Dorion.

“There’s this mentality that politics is all old white guys in suits,” said Christensen, a councillor in Pointe-aux-Trembles. “Then you get this breath of fresh air, maybe we don’t have the same look and you get looks. You can feel them, it feels like you’re being judged.

“You talk about policing issues and you hear: ‘Is she emotionally able to handle that.’ Or there’s a crisis: ‘Is she emotionally able to handle that.’ For God’s sake we give birth, we can handle anything.”

Christensen, a mechanic by trade, says she’s twice been told her statements in city council were “good, for a woman.”

“People see a woman in politics and they say: ‘Can you do the job,'” she said. “They see a guy and it’s, ‘He’s a natural leader.’ ”

a man and a woman looking at the camera:  Thérèse Daviau, here having a laugh with an unidentified woman on Oct. 3, 1978, was ejected from a council meeting for wearing pants. © Michael Dugas Thérèse Daviau, here having a laugh with an unidentified woman on Oct. 3, 1978, was ejected from a council meeting for wearing pants.

The city of Montreal modified the dress code in 1975 after opposition councillor Thérèse  Daviau broke decorum and showed up wearing … pants to a council meeting. She did so in defiance of an order from then-Mayor Jean Drapeau, who said he would not tolerate women wearing slacks on the job.

“The police actually dragged her out,” said Helen Fotopulos, a city councillor for 19 years. “We didn’t even have a women’s bathroom (in city hall) back then. Montreal has made strides since then and sometimes provincial politics lag a little bit.

“Dorion is certainly creative. There has to be respect for decorum that’s agreed upon. But if you don’t then sometimes you push the boundaries, you make vibrant examples and maybe things change. That’s democracy.”

ccurtis@postmedia.com

Related

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from The Gazette

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon