(Quebec) The life of a politician is not easy, especially when you lead a political party. In politics, women are judged more harshly, by their looks or their state of mind, feel obligated to be perfect at all times and in every way, have no room for error or anger, and constantly have to prove themselves. Double standards. Two weights, two measures. Even today, in 2022.
Posted at 11:23 am
And if we, as leaders of the official opposition, also have to face Prime Minister François Legault in Parliament every day, it doesn’t get any better.
This feminist outing comes like a cry from the heart from the leader of the Quebec Liberal Party (PLQ), Dominique Anglade, who is convinced that being a woman has nothing to do with the setbacks her party has suffered in the polls, and the Prime Minister’s attitude towards him.
“He’s a paternalistic person, that’s for sure,” she said of Mr Legault during a lengthy interview with The Canadian Press at a Quebec City cafe after a difficult week for his party following the Marie-Victorin by-election on Monday , when the PLQ had to settle for a fifth place finish and a humiliating 7% of popular support.
Mme Anglade did not appreciate Mr. Legault’s comment at all on the night of his party’s victory at Marie-Victorin, when he said that Quebecers did not like seeing them in the files of the CHSLD Herron, where dozens of seniors “mud-throwing” died during the first wave of the pandemic in atrocious conditions. “We’re in the sewers! ‘ said Mr Legault at the time, clearly annoyed by the questions asked by the leader of the official opposition, day after day.
The latter notes that the prime minister has overstepped the bounds without reserving “a fair treatment of the facts”. Is it therefore paternalistic, condescending, even sexist? “Absolutely,” replies M.me England.
There are “how many opposition leaders in the last 20 years who have been labeled whiny? “, while allowing herself to “firmly criticize the government, [on dira] either she’s aggressive or she’s complaining” instead of being firm or determined.
“There’s the bias,” in the other, harder, negative gaze when it’s a woman, she says, still refusing to portray herself as a victim.
This attitude worries her greatly, especially since she is still in control of the National Assembly, convinced that she will not be forgiven for the slightest misstep, a clumsy word, an outburst of anger.
However, he is sometimes angry when he hears certain thoughts from the Prime Minister, such as when he said over a closed microphone in Parliament in February that the President of the National Assembly, François Paradis, has always been Quebecois a caquiste. That day, she says, she uttered a few swear words but swallowed her anger, deciding in front of the media “not to show anything,” which would certainly pass for hysteria if she had provided the reason for her thoughts. The slightest increase in tone will pass her off as aggressive, which annoys her.
She believes that Mr. Legault treats men and women around him differently. “It’s clear that it’s easier for men,” she says, referring to the three women who have been on the Council of Ministers since the beginning of their term of office: MarieChantal Chassé, Sylvie D’Amours and Marie-Eve Proulx. No male minister has suffered the same fate, while some have struggled.
She cites the case of Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon, who has been repeatedly snubbed by the Ethics Commissioner but is still in office. “I could never have done what Pierre Fitzgibbon did” and remain a minister, said this former business secretary in the Couillard cabinet, confident that she “would not have gone through that” because “we don’t accept that a politician can put herself in.” find turbulent waters.
“I have much less room for error” than a politician, believes the top liberal politician and is certain that women, unlike men, do not have “passports”.
To reverse the trend, “all the space” must be made for female political leadership, and this snowball must be reflected in all sectors of society.
The Perfect Woman Syndrome
Knowing they have no room for manoeuvre, women politicians strive to be nothing short of perfect, notes the Liberal leader.
She says she suffers, like so many other women who have tried to make their mark in politics, from “the syndrome of those who are not allowed to make mistakes that I have”.
Hence his caution in his interventions.
Except that this reflex “limits you in everything you can be, in everything you can say, in the way you express yourself”. In short, it prevents you from being what you naturally are.
She also says she observes “a dichotomy between who I am and how people perceive her.” A gap between the public image and the real person.
“It’s still not quite normal that every time I meet someone,” the person’s comment reads, “It’s not at all how I perceived you.”
As the election date approaches, the party leader, who has led her party for almost two years, wants to be there to introduce voters to the “real” Dominique Anglade.
The regions massively avoided the PLQ 2018. In particular, she is relying on her Charter for the Regions to win back the voice of the Francophones by calling for greater decentralization of powers. A first announcement on this subject will be made on Thursday in Trois-Rivières.
The Liberal leader says she wants to return to the party’s core values, including economic development. His vision will be to integrate economic development, wealth creation and the fight against climate change into a coherent whole.
She is aware that she only has a few months left to recover. “The challenge is huge, but exciting,” she says.