As the only anglophone reporter on the Parti Québécois (PQ) campaign bus, Montreal Gazette reporter Christopher Curtis sees things a little differently to his francophone colleagues — and he’s not afraid to overshare on Twitter.
In fact, he’s become a bit of a legend in Quebec’s political sphere and has affectionately become known as the “chouchou” — or darling — of the bus.
“I just want to clarify that I’m my mother’s ‘chouchou,’ I have the text messages to prove it,” he told Global News.
Curtis appeared on TVA’s political TV show, La Joute, Tuesday to share his own quirky take on the sovereigntist party’s platform.
“It’s a little bit surreal, I’ve got to be honest. I had to explain to a lot of anglophones what La Joute was,” he said.
“A fun part of this is we’re all kind of having fun with each other instead of yelling at each other, which is good, healthy.”
While he’s following a party that historically hasn’t won many anglophone votes, he says he has made some interesting observations.
“With the Parti Québécois, you get the impression they want to change the world and it may not be the world that you want, but it is interesting to follow around a bunch of crazy people who want to change the world. There’s something compelling about that, whether you agree with their politics or not.”
Calling himself an amateur of political reporting, Curtis humbly insists he just wants to humanize politics.
“Having fun was part of it, showing a little bit of the behind the curtains, how the sausage gets made,” he told Global News.
“And also, just connecting a lot of these big issues — so, what does it mean for people like you and I? Or what does it mean for an elderly person? Or what does it mean for an Inuit person struggling with poverty?”
At the end of the day, Curtis says he’s just trying to have a good time and connect with his French colleagues.
“I just want to make people laugh — no, really, it makes me happy to get on the bus and play a trick on someone or to show up barefoot to a press conference,” he said.
“It makes me happy to make people happy and laugh and it distracts us all from the sort of drudgery of these 16, 18-hour campaign days.”
“At the end of the day, we’re in this together, whether we agree or not, whether we vote the same or not, whether we have the same vision for the world or not, I have a deep abiding love for this place I was born and raised in and I know they do too. And that’s cheesy.”
Quebec’s provincial elections take place Oct. 1.