Monday, October 1, 2007
André Boisclair (born April 14, 1966 in Montreal, Quebec) is a politician in Quebec, Canada. He was the leader of the Parti Québécois, a social democratic and sovereigntist party in Quebec.
Between January 1996 and March 2003, Boisclair served as Citizenship and Immigration Minister and Social Solidarity Minister under former Premier of Quebec Lucien Bouchard and as Environment Minister under former Premier Bernard Landry. He won the Parti Québécois leadership election on November 15, 2005.
Boisclair announced he was stepping down as leader of the PQ on May 8, 2007. François Gendron was named interim leader.
He joined the Parti Québécois in 1984, and in the 1989 general election he was elected to represent the Gouin riding as a PQ candidate. At 23 years old, he became the youngest member ever elected to the Quebec National Assembly, a record he held until Simon-Pierre Diamond was elected in 2007. He also quickly garnered a reputation as a party animal in Quebec City's night-life scene. The ensuing investigation cleared Boisclair of any wrongdoing - he was never accused nor charged with any crime. However, in September of 2005, Boisclair admitted to personally using cocaine between 1996 and 2003 while serving as a member of the Quebec legislature.
Boisclair continued to served as a Member of the National Assembly until he resigned in August 2004 to attend the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. At the time of his resignation, Boisclair held the position of opposition parliamentary (house) leader. Boisclair completed the Master's in Public Administration program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government - a program that does not require students to hold a previous university degree. While at Harvard, Boisclair attended lectures by Michael Ignatieff and kept a blog recording his experience.
Boisclair currently represents the Montreal-area riding of Pointe-aux-Trembles in the National Assembly of Quebec.
Political scene 1989 - 2003
After Bernard Landry resigned in June 2005, Boisclair entered the race to succeed Landry as the PQ's leader. Elected as the sixth leader of the Parti Québécois on November 15, 2005, Boisclair earned 53.8% of the party membership vote as compared to his closest rival, Pauline Marois, who garnered 30.6%. For the first time, the PQ allowed telephone voting, resulting in the participation of over 76% of the party membership. Polls taken at the time of his leadership victory in November 2005 suggested that Boisclair's Parti Québécois would win a landslide victory over the incumbent Liberal Party of Jean Charest.
After his election as party leader, Boisclair delivered a speech promising a sovereignty referendum within 2 years of a PQ victory in the next Quebec general election. During a joint press conference with Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe in Montreal on November 20, 2005, Boisclair decried Canada's Clarity Act as unacceptable. He stated that if elected Premier, he would ignore the ruling of the Supreme Court of Canada on referendum question clarity.
Upon taking the reins of the PQ, Boisclair's actions quickly created political controversy within his own party. After a questionable appearance in a comedy sketch featuring a homosexual depiction of Stephen Harper and George W. Bush, and an attempt to distance the PQ from its traditional union base, a putsch to oust Boisclair developed. Purportedly led by Boisclair's predecessor, Bernard Landry (which he denies), the plan failed and no real threat to Boisclair's leadership emerged. Pundits speculated that the proximity of the Quebec general election contributed to the putsch's failure.
Boisclair was the first openly gay politician in Canada to win the leadership of a party with legislative representation. (Previous openly gay Canadian political party leaders included Chris Lea of the Green Party of Canada and Allison Brewer of the New Brunswick New Democratic Party.)
On August 14, 2006, Boisclair was elected to the provincial legislative assembly in a by-election for the Montreal-area riding of Pointe-aux-Trembles. He was re-elected in the general election of March 26, 2007.
In a March 14, 2007 campaign speech to students in Trois-Rivières, Boisclair commented that when he was a student at Harvard, he observed that "about one-third of the students doing their Bachelor's degrees had slanted eyes" (in French: "les yeux bridés"), while describing how citizens of Asian countries are "not just sweatshop workers" but are globally competitive and may even be highly educated. (Only 13% of Harvard students are of Asian descent, many of whom are US citizens. Although the literal translation of his phrase is considered a racial slur in English, the English-language media have generally not pointed out that it isn't considered an insult by most French speakers. The Petit Robert, the best known French dictionary, defines "yeux bridés" as "Eyes characteristic of many Asians" without any mention of negative or racist connotations. Media in both languages did not generally address separate concerns arising from any implication that Asian appearance necessarily connotes Asian--rather than American or Canadian--citizenship, or that Asian appearance is associated with sweat-shop work.
Resignation as PQ Leader
Parti Québécois leadership election, 2005
Quebec sovereignty movement
Politics of Quebec
List of leaders of the Official Opposition (Quebec)
List of third party leaders (Quebec)
History of Quebec
Posted by bushganizer258 at 9:08 AM