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QS and the PLQ make amends on the subject of “people with a vagina”, the CAQ and the PQ persist

Photo: Francis Vachon Archives La Devoir The motion related to the use of “people with vaginas” by the Supreme Court was filed by the Minister responsible for the Status of Women, Martine Biron, and three other elected officials.

The Liberal Party of Quebec (PLQ) and Québec solidaire (QS) recognized errors on Tuesday in the adoption, by the National Assembly, of a motion linked to the use of the expression “person with a vagina” in a Supreme Court decision.

“It wasn’t a good day that time,” agreed the interim leader of the PLQ, Marc Tanguay. “It went much too quickly last Thursday,” also admitted Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, from QS.

Prime Minister François Legault admitted last Friday that he had not read the judgment to which the motion referred. The parliamentary leader of the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) government and Minister of Justice, Simon Jolin-Barrette, remained silent when journalists asked him, on multiple occasions, if he had done the reading exercise before proposing the motion.

Only the Minister responsible for the Status of Women, Martine Biron, attested to having read the judgment of the highest court in the country. It was she who filed a motion last Thursday aimed at “denouncing the choice of words used in a recent Supreme Court judgment to designate women.” She did so with liberal MP André A. Morin, Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, leader of the Parti Québécois (PQ), and independent MP Marie-Claude Nichols.

Invisibilizing women

The motion, which was unanimously adopted by parliamentarians, affirms that the National Assembly “dissociates itself from the use of terms or concepts contributing to the invisibility of women”. Additionally, she “reiterates the importance of retaining the word ‘woman’.” This word is used 67 times in the French version of the decision and 69 times in the English version, in the forms “ woman” and “ women“.

In this sexual assault case, it is written that “when a person with a vagina testifies credibly and with certainty to having experienced penile-vaginal penetration, the trial judge must be able to conclude that it is unlikely that She is wrong “. The Supreme Court's decision reinstates guilty verdicts. “While the trial judge's choice to use the words 'a woman' may have been regrettable and caused confusion, in context it is clear that the judge believed it was extremely unlikely that the plaintiff was mistaken about the sensation of penile-vaginal penetration because people, even when intoxicated, are generally not mistaken about this sensation,” the Court wrote.

Martine Biron did not comment on the matter on Tuesday, since she was on mission in Belgium.

In an interview with Radio-Canada on Monday, the CAQ minister spoke of an “excellent judgment which advances women's rights”, but affirmed that the expression “person with a vagina” was a “description which is loaded and which is a matter of debate in society.” The fact that the word “woman” is used 67 times in the French version of the judgment does not change anything: “I do not think, for my part, that the 67 references to women trivialize this reference,” he said. -she said.

Marc Tanguay, for his part, recognized that his teams had not had time to “do all the necessary checks” before tabling the motion and discredited Minister Jolin-Barrette. “We were already questioning the rigor of the office of the Minister of Justice, but here, I think that clearly, we [saw] that we have to be very careful when they assert things,” he said, promising to sharpen his vigilance. PLQ MP André A. Morin was among those who presented the motion with Minister Biron, the journalists reminded him. “As a group, it is clear that there is a lesson there,” agreed Chief Tanguay. If we had to do it again, the wording of the motion would have been different on our side. »

As for QS, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois stressed that his party did not participate in the presentation of the motion “in particular because we had the feeling that we did not have had time to make all the necessary checks”. This did not prevent the political party from supporting the motion. “Perhaps we should all take notes on the way we present motions when it is on subjects as complex as these,” he suggested.< /p>

Chief St-Pierre Plamondon assured that he had read the judgment in advance. “No, I don’t regret it,” he said of supporting the motion. In her opinion, the use of the expression “person with a vagina” “comes with a whole body of ideology and concepts that make women invisible.” And this “is not trivial”, he maintained, nevertheless saying he understood the reasoning put forward in the judgment.

A motion to “denounce the choice of words” of the Supreme Court

Here is the text of the motion unanimously adopted by the National Assembly on Thursday. It was tabled by the Minister responsible for the Status of Women, Martine Biron, in collaboration with Liberal MP André A. Morin, Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, leader of the PQ, and independent MP Marie-Claude Nichols.

“That the National Assembly denounces the choice of words used in a recent judgment of the Supreme Court to designate women;

That she reiterates the importance of retaining the word “woman”;

That she dissociates herself from the use of terms or concepts that contribute to making women invisible;

Let her recall the significant gains made in recent decades to advance women's rights and the need to protect these acquired rights. »

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116