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Politics

Quebec political parties lack diversity ahead of fall election campaign

WATCH: Quebec identity, immigration and asylum seekers are likely to be major election issues during this fall’s campaign. As Global's Raquel Fletcher reports, here is how the parties stack up so far when it comes to diversity.

Quebec identity, immigration and asylum seekers are likely to be major election issues during this fall’s campaign. Has that encouraged Quebec’s political parties to seek more diverse candidates?

Parties haven’t nominated all of their candidates yet, but on the eve of the campaign kickoff, Global News has compared the political parties on diversity.

READ MORE: Trudeau unapologetic after telling heckler, ‘Your racism has no place here’

Almost 50 per cent of the candidates running for Quebec’s four main political parties are women. Based on the candidates the parties have listed on their websites, Global News estimates that half of the candidates for the CAQ are women, almost doubling the number that ran in last election.

Fifty-two per cent of Quebec Solidaire candidates are women. The Liberal Party boasts 43 per cent, while the Parti Quebecois falls behind at 38 per cent.

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“The good news in this election is that we will almost certainly have a record number of women sitting as MNAs in Quebec City,” said Premier Philippe Couillard.

READ MORE: ‘We’re very red around here’: CAQ campaigns in the West Island

However, the parties fall short when it comes to recruiting visible minorities. People from Quebec’s diverse ethnic communities represent less than 10 per cent of all candidates.

“We want and welcome diversity in Quebec. We don’t fear diversity,” Couillard said of the Quebec Liberal Party.

A Montreal activist said parties, including the Liberals, are still too homogeneous — something that leads to bad legislation.

“A good example is Bill 62 from the Quebec Liberal Party because it infringes on the rights of Muslim women,” said Balarama Holness, a McGill law student and founder of Montreal in Action.

The leaders of three of the four parties also represent a lack of diversity, but when asked about this on Tuesday, PQ Leader Jean-François Lisée laughed it off.

READ MORE: Parti Quebecois launches new ad campaign making fun of itself

Holness said a lack of representation is a good reason to boost your civic engagement. A petition he launched is forcing the city of Montreal to hold public consultations on systemic racism. He said if voters care about supporting diversity in Quebec, there are ways to let their leaders know.

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