(Sherbrooke) Canada and its “woke” ideology are instrumentalizing the concept of intersectionality to make it a “weapon” against Quebec values, denounced Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchet in a speech on the sidelines of the Parti Québécois convention.
“The same people who have the courage to denounce that the words “systemic racism” are being used as a weapon against Quebec must stand up. The same people who have the courage to denounce that we are perverting the idea – perhaps scientifically valid somewhere – of intersectionality to make it a weapon against Quebec must stand up, ”said Mr. Blanchet, arousing applause in a room packed with activists on Saturday.
The Bloc leader believes that the federal government “institutionalizes” through university funding a “perversion of what knowledge and science should be”. Ottawa “imposes ideological, activist and anti-Quebec conclusions in research,” he added.
“You smell, and I don’t like the word ‘woke’, but I can’t think of a better one, […] we feel that Ottawa is instrumentalizing this current of thought to systematically attack the Quebec nation,” he later specified in a press scrum.
Debate in the National Assembly
The concept of intersectionality sparked a debate at the end of February in the National Assembly. Québec solidaire had tabled a motion at the Salon bleu in which the party encouraged “gender-based analysis from an intersectional perspective in order to defend the rights of all women in Quebec”. The party had the support of the Liberal Party and the Parti Québécois, but not of the CAQ.
However, the Minister responsible for the Status of Women, Martine Biron, disagreed. “It’s not our vision of feminism,” her office argued at the Duty. Subsequently, former Parti Québécois leader Jean-François Lisée stated, also in the pages of the Dutythat the PQ had “fallen into the trap” by “supporting the motion by progressive reflex without having the slightest idea of its legal impact”.
On social media, the PQ MP Pascal Bérubé had affirmed that despite his vote, the PQ “does not adhere to the intersectional approach”, which he opposes to a “universalist” feminism.
A concept used by the Quebec government
It is now the Bloc leader’s turn to fall head over heels against this concept. “As an anthropologist, I’m not saying that the very notion is irrelevant, we could talk for a long time because I had fun thinking about it and reading about it. I say that its instrumentalization to ultimately attack Quebec values by perverting what would be the sociological or scientific meaning of this idea is not acceptable, ”he denounced.
However, intersectionality is an integral part of the 2022-2027 government strategy to counter sexual violence and domestic violence in Quebec.
“The intersections between different systems of discrimination place some women in contexts of heightened vulnerability to sexual violence and domestic violence. Let us think in particular of immigrant or racialized women, aboriginals, seniors, in situations of poverty, with disabilities and people of sexual and gender diversity, ”we read in the strategic plan carried by the Legault government.
“A tool for reflection first legal, but now sociological, intersectionality is the taking into account of the intersection of relations of discrimination to reveal the specificity of discriminatory situations that are often ignored”, according to the Primer of Feminism.