Elections Quebec 2022 | The artists seem to have chosen their side

Elections Quebec 2022 | The artists seem to have chosen their side
Elections Quebec 2022 | The artists seem to have chosen their side

The Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ) may collect almost half of the voting intentions among Francophones, the party of François Legault does not seem at first sight to seduce artists, who often prefer to publicly support Québec solidaire, sometimes the Parti Québécois. Still, most public figures have opted for discretion since the start of this election campaign. Would there be in the lot of caquistes in the closet?

Professor of political communication at the University of Quebec at Trois-Rivières, Mireille Lalancette is not surprised that few well-known artists dare to explicitly show their support for a party, and even less for the CAQ. “Artists have always tended to be more drawn to progressive social values. That is why, at the time, many openly supported the Parti Québécois, which defended these ideas, and that is why today many [d’entre eux] support Québec solidaire. We see the same thing in the United States, where most artists are behind the Democratic Party. »

South of the border, rare are the artists who do not take a stand during presidential campaigns. Generally, Hollywood stands up for the Democratic candidates, who always like to surround themselves with the Beyoncé, Jon Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen of this world in their political rallies.

In France, the picture is more fragmented. There are artists known to support the far left, the left, President Macron and even the traditional right. Only support for the extreme right still seems forbidden in the Parisian microcosm. The “ peoples “, as we say across the Atlantic, are constantly called upon to get wet on television sets, and the most committed do not hesitate to participate in large gatherings of supporters of their candidate.

Not so in Quebec, where mainstream stars keep a low profile about their political views. For whom do Véronique Cloutier, Ginette Reno or Charles Lafortune vote? Very clever whoever can tell.

“We have a political tradition that is completely different from that of France or that of the United States. We like the opposition much less here. And we must not forget that we are a small market. Artists cannot risk losing contracts by giving their opinion. […] In the United States, moreover, Democrats rely heavily on artists for funding. Not here, as part of the funding is public and average artists are not very wealthy,” emphasizes Professor Lalancette, who believes that the fact that the CAQ does not enjoy the support of the entertainment world is not not dramatic.

The influence of creators

Questioned by The duty, the political formation has not been able to name a single known artist who openly supports it. “The electoral choice of artists belongs to them,” we argue at the CAQ.

It is quite the opposite at Québec solidaire, where artists even represent an important part of the electoral communication strategy. Klô Pelgag, Clay and Friends, Valence or even Fanny Bloom have all been the headliners of solidarity rallies in recent months. “Surely there are people who were curious about the party’s ideas, but who came above all to see their favorite artist. It allows us to reach a new audience, ”blows an internal Source who requested anonymity because of the subject matter.

But by associating itself in this way with artists who are often young and a little left field, isn’t the group giving grist to the mill to its detractors who are trying to confine it to the Plateau-Mont-Royal?

Singer Émile Bilodeau, an early supporter of Québec solidaire, is convinced, on the contrary, that artists can challenge voters in the regions, from all walks of life. “There is a nasty difference between a Quebec artist who tours in Abitibi and an American star who is locked up in a studio in California. We are really on the ground. I do writing workshops on the North Shore, in Charlevoix, but also in Montreal North, where there are veiled teachers who do an excellent job. It then allows me, when I go to Quebec or Chicoutimi, to say that “Law 21” is not a good law, ”explains the 26-year-old singer-songwriter, who does not believe. that his political positions are detrimental to his musical career. When he goes door to door for Québec solidaire, Émile Bilodeau notices that his status as a star often makes him enjoy an attentive ear.

However very committed, the director Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette doubts for her part the political influence of the artists. Relying on public figures can quickly be a double-edged sword, she notes. ” It’s delicate. Artists must not lose sight of the fact that they are only relays for scientists, doctors and farmers. If you forget it, you can quickly seem to be above the others and to lecture people, ”adds the author of the bestselling book The woman who fledt.

During the current election campaign, she has chosen to devote herself to the Mothers at the Front initiative, which campaigns for awareness of the climate emergency, rather than openly supporting a political party.

Exceptions to the rule

Many artists are reluctant today to come out for one or the other of the parties, preferring to invest in a cause that is close to their heart – ecology, feminism, diversity. All of the causes rather marked on the left.

At the latest news, there has not yet been a benefit show for the third link or for the resurrection of the GNL Quebec project. Some members of the artistic colony, however, stand apart, starting with the actress Anne Casabonne, star candidate of the Conservative Party of Quebec in Iberville.

Comedian Mathieu Gratton also caused a surprise by announcing his candidacy for the Liberal Party of Quebec in Laporte after having flirted with the CAQ. Especially since he does not hide having been a sovereigntist for a long time, even admitting that he never voted for the Liberal Party. “I think it’s still taboo for an artist not to vote for the Parti Québécois or for Québec solidaire. Just in my riding, two well-known personalities told me that they were going to vote for me, but they would never say so publicly,” underlines the Liberal candidate, who does not believe that his career as a comedian will suffer from his leap into politics if he is not elected on October 3.

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The article is in French

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