Québec election: Jean-Marc Fournier for the PLQ
(This is our 5th of 6 party overviews on LGBT issues). The anti-homophobia Action Plan is the first and foremost undertaking that the Québec Liberal Party is serving the LGBT community in the years ahead. “If I had another promise today, they would ask me in March why I didn’t put it in the Action Plan and why I didn’t do it sooner,” says Jean-Marc Fournier diffidently. As Justice Minister, Fournier is also the rep for LGBT issues in the Charest government. Entre Elles spoke with him just a few days before he attended Montréal Pride.
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When the anti-homophobia Action plan was finally revealed in the Spring of 2011, the Liberal MNA candidate for the semi-suburban Montréal riding of Saint-Laurent admitted that the subsidies provided by the Plan would only benefit a minority of gay organizations (approx 20%). Do the Liberals think this is enough? “The challenge of fighting homophobia is such a large task that I don’t know when it will be enough. I believe that the five-year plan will run its course,” the Minister said.
Fournier sees more medium and long-term plans ahead. “Going forward, I want us to put forward the best plans. I don’t want this to be the five-year plan, but rather the first five-year plan,” he declared. Fournier was awarded the Prix des bâtisseurs (“Founders’ Prize”) by Fierté Montréal this year on the same night his government approved the controversial Bill 78 (now Law 12). Fournier was also a vocal opponent of the Harper government’s Omnibus Crime Bill C-10 last year.
Known to be firmly in Jean Charest’s inner circle, Fournier is proud of his track record with community groups. “I’ve been lucky enough to have partners who were very open when I solicited them for advice. Because in reality, who are the actors in this day to day? It’s the community groups who are involved in the struggle. It was self-evident that we would work together,” he says. Saint-Laurent is an overridingly Liberal stronghold in the Northwest end of Montréal.
Happier times: Xavier Dolan, awarded the Prix de lutte contre l’homophobie by Justice Minister Jean-Marc Fournier, May 2011.
Editor’s Note: This article includes quotes that have been translated from an original interview in French. In tandem with Êtremag, we will be publishing a series of brief articles on each of the political parties’ LGBT platforms and/or their candidate in the Sainte-Marie-Saint-Jacques riding.