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Canada Polarizing Quebec MNA Catherine Dorion viewed by some as symbol of left-wing populism

07:35  12 november  2019
07:35  12 november  2019 Source:   nationalpost.com

1 dead, almost 629,000 customers without power following wind storm in Quebec

  1 dead, almost 629,000 customers without power following wind storm in Quebec MONTREAL — One man was killed and almost 629,000 homes and businesses were without power across Quebec following a wind storm Friday, as the province's hydro utility warned it could take several days to fully restore the grid. The hardest-hit areas of the province were in southern Quebec, where winds topped 100 kilometres per hour. As of late Friday evening, most of the customers without power were around the Montreal area, down to the U.S. border.Other major outages were reported in the Laurentians, the Quebec City area, and the Lanaudiere region.

First it was a quip about a line of coke. Then it was a pair of Doc Martens in Quebec ’s National Assembly. Now, almost a year later, rookie Québec Solidaire MNA Catherine Dorion is back in the headlines, this time because of a short skirt and an orange hoodie.

© Catherine Dorion /Facebook Québec solidaire MNA Catherine Dorion sits on the main desk of the Salon rouge at the National Assembly in Quebec City, in a photo she posted to Facebook on Oct. When she arrived, some MNAs from other parties filed complaints about it to Speaker Francois Paradis.

a person sitting on a bench in front of a building: Québec solidaire MNA Catherine Dorion sits on a desk in the Salon rouge at the National Assembly in Quebec City, in a photo she posted to Facebook on Halloween. The photo created controversy among legislators for what they called a lack of respect for the chamber.© Facebook Québec solidaire MNA Catherine Dorion sits on a desk in the Salon rouge at the National Assembly in Quebec City, in a photo she posted to Facebook on Halloween. The photo created controversy among legislators for what they called a lack of respect for the chamber.

First it was a quip about a line of coke. Then it was a pair of Doc Martens in Quebec’s National Assembly.

Now, almost a year later, rookie Québec Solidaire MNA Catherine Dorion is back in the headlines, this time because of a short skirt and an orange hoodie. Her clothing choices have kicked off another firestorm of controversy over decorum in Quebec’s legislature, while her party calls for everyone to calm down and get back to work.

Still no power for 168,000 Quebecers as Hydro-Quebec repairs storm damage

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“That leaves me in a spot where, well, I’m going to need more money to make ends meet,” he said. “At 72 years old, you don’t expect these things to happen.” Polarizing Quebec MNA Catherine Dorion viewed by some as symbol of left - wing populism . 'Should have never let him stay that long': Don

Quebec politician Catherine Dorion , who is a member of the left - wing Quebec Solidaire party, pushed the fashion envelope when she entered the Some The reason? Her colleagues believed she was improperly dressed. nationalpost.com. Polarizing Quebec MNA Catherine Dorion viewed by

Among Quebec’s commentariat, much ink has been spilled of late on Dorion’s attire. But the question of what Dorion is wearing — or what she ought to be wearing — is hardly the most interesting issue at hand. The real question to ask is this: What is Dorion doing?

A polarizing figure since her election in October 2018, Dorion has never been afraid to stir the pot. She has embraced the role of iconoclast, and is arguably the most visible symbol of Québec Solidaire’s recent shift toward left-wing populism.

There’s no question that Dorion has helped her party, still a fairly marginal force in Quebec politics, to corner a disproportionate amount of media attention. What remains to be seen, however, is how much Québec Solidaire stands to benefit from the type of attention Dorion brings in.

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Quebec is one of Canada's provinces, and has established several provincial symbols .

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The latest uproar began on Halloween, when Dorion posted a photo to social media of her sitting on a desk in the Quebec legislature, dressed in a black blazer, skirt, tights and high heels — a far cry from the more casual clothing she generally wears. “Happy Halloween,” she captioned it.

Her point was that formal attire is a costume for her. But right-wing commentators were not amused, seizing on the length of Dorion’s skirt, which ended well above the knee, as a sign of her lack of respect for the institution. Well-known media personality Denise Bombardier wrote a scathing column , saying Dorion “doesn’t hesitate to play a lady of the night, with pearl necklace and stilettos.” The provincial Liberals filed a formal complaint about the photo.

The furor continued last Thursday, when Dorion showed up to the National Assembly in an orange hoodie, causing several MNAs to complain about a breach of decorum. She left the chamber after being made aware of the complaints.

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Polarizing Quebec MNA Catherine Dorion viewed by some as symbol of left - wing populism . 'Should have never let him stay that long': Don Cherry's firing seemed both inevitable and impossible.

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None of this would have amounted to much, perhaps, if Dorion hadn’t already made a point of thumbing her nose at conformity. Last November, the Quebec City MNA posted a video to social media in which she compared a proposal to build a new bridge or tunnel connecting the city’s north and south shores to a “line of coke.” Her point was that a new highway would only encourage drivers to become more dependent on their cars. But it was the drug analogy, of course, that made headlines.

After that, her decision to wear Doc Martens, jeans and T-shirts in the National Assembly touched off a debate about decorum that led to a review of the legislature’s dress code. In the months after the election, Dorion received more media attention than just about any other MNA, an impressive feat for a novice backbencher in what was then the fourth party in the legislature, after the governing right-leaning Coalition Avenir Québec, the opposition Liberals and the Parti Québécois. The party has since overtaken the PQ.

“She draws a lot of attention,” said McGill University political scientist Daniel Béland. “But it’s not always positive attention.”

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  Women Across Quebec Are Wearing Hoodies To Work In Solidarity With Catherine Dorion On November 12, wearing a hoodie to work means supporting Catherine Dorion.Last Thursday, Taschereau MP Catherine Dorion was reportedly denied access to the National Assembly chamber because she was wearing an orange hoodie.

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Polarizing Quebec MNA Catherine Dorion viewed by some as symbol of left - wing populism . Canada Dot Com 12 Nov 2019. After complaints over her clothes, Quebec MNA Catherine Dorion pressured out of National Assembly Left-leaning Québec Solidaire declares war on business attire in

a woman standing in front of a crowd:  A poet and actress, Catherine Dorion did not come to politics via the conventional route.© Facebook A poet and actress, Catherine Dorion did not come to politics via the conventional route.

A former poet and actress, Dorion has said she wants to inject more art and emotion into politics, to get people engaged and fight against cynicism. Her clothing choices, she claims, are simply a reflection of her personality.

Dorion seems to embody a populist shift that Québec Solidaire, founded in 2006, has embraced since Manon Massé and Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois took over as spokespeople in 2017. (The party does not elect a leader, and is instead represented by one male and one female spokesperson.) During last year’s election campaign, the party chose “Populaire” as its slogan, which translates roughly to “of the people.”

Massé, who hails from rural Quebec, has painted herself as a political outsider and straight shooter who abhors double-speak. It’s an approach that seems to have been effective. Once a party that appealed largely to educated Montrealers and community organizers, Québec Solidaire surged from three seats to 10 during the 2018 election, winning its first four seats outside Montreal, including Dorion’s.

“When (people) see someone who’s consistent … who speaks honestly, I think it resonates and it gets people elected,” Massé told the National Post in an interview earlier this year.

Hoodie-wearing Quebec MNA challenges the dress code, and takes heat for doing it

  Hoodie-wearing Quebec MNA challenges the dress code, and takes heat for doing it Known for wearing tuques, T-shirts and Doc Martens in the legislature, Catherine Dorion is at the centre of a heated debate around what elected officials should wear to work. When Dorian showed up to the National Assembly wearing an orange hooded sweatshirt last week, it quickly became the latest flashpoint.Other MNAs complained, prompting Dorion to leave the legislature before question period. Her party said she was shaken. "I come to do my job and you tell me that because of what I look like — no, you don't fit it," Dorion later said on the Radio-Canada talk show Tout le monde en parle.

Éric Montigny, a political scientist at the Université de Laval, said Québec Solidaire now bears all the hallmarks of a populist movement — an anti-establishment party claiming to speak on behalf of the people, and not afraid to take the odd dig at the media. “They’re claiming to embody the voice of the people, instead of embodying the opinions of a part of the population,” he said.

Neither Massé nor Dorion are keen on the term “populist.” They believe it’s too closely tied to right-wing populists like U.S. President Donald Trump, and has become a toxic word. Both insist they are only being true to themselves, refusing to kowtow to the expectations of establishment politicians. “I don’t dislike the way politicians dress, but it’s not me. Why should I do that? Why should I change?” Dorion said in an interview earlier this year.

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Be that as it may, Québec Solidaire has used these symbolic battles strategically. Massé’s distinctive moustache — a line of white hairs above her upper lip that has been mocked by other politicians — appeared prominently on the party’s campaign signs last year, presumably a sign of her authenticity. Dorion was the first guest on popular Quebec talk show Tout le monde en parle on Sunday, which gets an average of 1.3 million viewers each week.

“It’s true that we hear much more about them than we hear about the Parti Québécois or the Liberals in many cases, not because of policy substance, but because of the show they put on,” Béland said.

But there is a risk, certainly, in relying too much on theatre. Québec Solidaire is offering a new flavour of progressive politics in the wake of the Parti Québécois’s collapse during the last election. The party is sovereigntist, but is primarily concerned about climate change. Montigny said the party’s priorities risk getting drowned out by all the focus on Dorion and her clothing. “It’s a double-edged sword,” said Béland.

CN strike means Quebec has less than five days propane left, premier says

  CN strike means Quebec has less than five days propane left, premier says Quebec Premier Francois Legault says a strike at Canadian National Railway Co. has left the province with fewer than five days before it runs out of propane, which would wreak havoc at hospitals, nursing homes and farms. He says Quebec has already started to ration propane use, narrowing it to less than half the typical six million litres per day. The province has about 12 million litres in reserve. Legault says priority has been given to health centres and retirement residences that rely on propane heating as well as farms that use it to dry grain and heat barns.

a man and a woman taking a selfie:  Québec Solidaire MNA Catherine Dorion with party co-spokesperson Manon Masse.© Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press/File Québec Solidaire MNA Catherine Dorion with party co-spokesperson Manon Masse.

Québec Solidaire insists it wants to move past the latest controversy. A spokesperson told the Montreal Gazette last week that the party wants to “settle the issue and get to the business of government,” and that Québec Solidaire “didn’t choose to make this an issue.”

But some Quebec commentators are not so willing to let Dorion and her party off the hook. On Monday, La Presse columnist Patrick Lagacé argued that her antics serve as a distraction. “Ms. Dorion is an outstanding communicator,” he wrote. “She must find a way to draw attention to her ideas… as she does to her clothes.”

• Email: mforrest@postmedia.com | Twitter: MauraForrest

CN strike means Quebec has less than five days propane left, premier says .
Quebec Premier Francois Legault says a strike at Canadian National Railway Co. has left the province with fewer than five days before it runs out of propane, which would wreak havoc at hospitals, nursing homes and farms. He says Quebec has already started to ration propane use, narrowing it to less than half the typical six million litres per day. The province has about 12 million litres in reserve. Legault says priority has been given to health centres and retirement residences that rely on propane heating as well as farms that use it to dry grain and heat barns.

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