(Quebec) The Mouvement national des Québécois (MNQ) plays down the controversy that surrounded the appointment of singer Émile Bilodeau as host of the National Day show on the Plains of Abraham, in Quebec.
In an internal memo, the MNQ, which is in charge of organizing the June 24 festivities, describes as “a crisis that originated in a glass of water” the tumult over the choice of this artist, who openly displays his support in Québec solidaire (QS) and its opposition to the law on state secularism.
“I don’t know where you got that, we didn’t issue a press release saying that, it’s an internal memo, it’s not supposed to come out,” the communications and marketing manager of the MNQ, Sophie Lemelin, in interview with La Presse Canadienne.
Columnists as well as the Quebec Secular Movement have denounced the choice of Émile Bilodeau which according to them is not unifying.
The internal memo obtained by La Presse Canadienne is headlined “Émile Bilodeau on the Plains – QS Motion Adopted Unanimously”.
The email thus highlights the adoption of a motion by Québec solidaire (QS) in the National Assembly last week to salute the “exceptional work” of the MNQ in “the organization of the national holiday in an independent and non-partisan way”. .
The memo claims that this motion is a “beautiful conclusion to this crisis (sic) which originated in a glass of water”.
According to Sophie Lemelin, “it didn’t become a crisis” because “no media wanted to get into it” so as not to sink into the culture of cancellation.
It’s just a social media feud that only got “90 comments in a Facebook post,” she said.
“This is a storm in a teacup,” the communications manager said.
Contesting the choice of this singer-songwriter touches on an “issue of freedom of expression, freedom of association and freedom of opinion” and the MNQ does not want to sink into such a debate, she said. for follow-up.
Émile Bilodeau remains a “completely” unifying figure, insisted Ms. Lemelin.
Recall that in the general election last fall, the singer campaigned alongside QS co-spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois in Verdun.
Earlier that year, he had called for a QS vote in the by-election in Marie-Victorin.
The singer called Bill 21 on state secularism “misogynistic, Islamophobic and demeaning” legislation. During the 2020 National Day show, he wore a button denouncing the law on secularism.
“Émile will not arrive on the scene to proclaim that he is against this law, assured Ms. Lemelin. It is not in Émile’s mandate to come and play politics. »
The national holiday “is not in the controversy and the exhibition of values”, concluded the communications manager. It has “always been depoliticized in the noble sense of the word”.
The Parti Québécois (PQ) also suffered attacks from Émile Bilodeau. In a tweet, he said that “the PQ must die for there to go (sic) a sovereignist opposition”.
In addition, he had ridiculed the PQ leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon in his crusade to abolish the oath to the King of England taken by the elected members of the National Assembly.
He had then called the three PQ MPs “whiners” who were “twiddling their thumbs”, while “my friend Sol Zanetti”, MP for Québec solidaire, had tabled a bill to abolish the obligation to take an oath at the Crown. This is in fact the bill tabled by the Minister of Democratic Institutions, Jean-François Roberge. which was adopted.