Martin C. Barry
Papineau NDP candidate Christine Paré, whose main adversary is Justin Trudeau, took major swipes at the incumbent Liberal Prime Minister during her campaign launch last week – at one point even calling him “a liar” during an interview.
According to a biography of Paré on the NDP web site, she is a “proud feminist,” a socialist and a tireless advocate for social housing and women’s rights. “Christine Paré is the kind of candidate the super-rich want to keep out of Parliament,” says the NDP.
According to the party, she joined her first labour union when she was 18 and has been active in the labour movement ever since, in elected positions and as a grassroots activist. Her work for the NDP has led her to chair several women’s committees at the federal and provincial levels.
Burkina Faso dissident
Paré worked full time to complete her graduate studies, researching the role of women in organizations. Originally from Burkina Faso, she was active there in a political movement fighting the dictatorship of Blaise Compaoré before immigrating to Canada and Quebec more than 15 years ago.
Paré has lived in Parc Extension for 17 years, where she’s been active in local movements advocating for housing and social justice. She says her inspirations are labour leaders like Madeleine Parent and writers like Toni Morrison. When Paré isn’t working or organizing in her community, she enjoys reading and growing vegetables in her backyard.
“I am a socialist,” Paré told supporters during a launch held at the Café la place Commune café/restaurant on Querbes Ave.
“When I see the advertising made by Justin saying he is there for the middle class – ordinary people like those in Park Extension and Papineau – he really doesn’t care about people like that. I am here for ordinary people, for people who have never been able to make it into the middle class.”
Among other things, Paréquestioned Justin Trudeau’s commitment to feminist values.
Justin a feminist?
“He says he is feminist? But do you believe in Justin’s kind of feminism?” she asked, receiving a resounding “no” in response from her supporters. Paré said the NDP is committed to having 50 per cent of its candidates as women.
In an interview with Nouvelles Parc Extension News, she recounted some of the struggle she was involved in against the former president of Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaoré. “I had to leave,” she said. “He was a dictator and was in power for 27 years. Some of us were forced out. But after that I came here to Canada where I am still an activist for human rights.”
Calls Trudeau a liar
Regarding her criticism of Justin Trudeau’s feminism, Paré said, “With feminism you have to fight for women. But Justin Trudeau only uses feminism for politics. I don’t think he believes. He uses feminists to get power and to be in Parliament. He is not sincere. He is a liar. He is a big liar.”
She said she also takes issue with Trudeau’s controversial treatment of his former cabinet ministers Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott who were expelled from the Liberal caucus. “This kind of guy is not feminist,” Paré said.
Paré reacted this way to Quebec’s controversial Bill 21, which prevents anyone wearing religious symbols from being employed in the public sector. “You know I am an immigrant and everyone has a right to live in Canada,” she said.
“We are in a society with freedom. Of course, me I am different from you by my colour. I can also be different from you by my religion. But you have to accept me.” But she added the following. “Bill 21 is the provincial level. It’s not the federal level,” she said, implying Ottawa should not interfere.