Debates are a normal process at Quebec’s National Assembly, but on Wednesday, an unorthodox one was taking place out in the halls.
“I respect the institution, I respect what the institution means, what it encompasses, what it’s supposed to be,” said Québec Solidaire MNA Catherine Dorion.
“It’s supposed to be the people’s house, so why can’t we look like normal people?”
Some newer MNAs, particularly those with Québec Solidaire, are making headlines for their style choices; some wearing running shoes, jeans and Dr. Martens boots.
There is no specific dress code in the assembly — rules only call for elected officials to dress in a manner that upholds parliamentary decorum — which is defined as business casual.
“There’s probably a line somewhere, but I didn’t think about where it should be, and I don’t think right now it’s a problem,” said Québec Solidaire MNA Sol Zanetti.
National Assembly speaker, François Paradis, said there may need to be a pre-determined line.
But he told reporters he thinks this is a healthy and sane discussion that needs to be reflected upon.
“Yes, our regulations are very broad,” he said. “We are speaking about attire that is business casual. It has been 100 years and today, that isn’t the same thing.
“There are things that evolve.
Paradis suggested that there would be a review of the rules — something other politicians think could be a good idea.
“I think the National Assembly should have some rules about the dress code, but now we don’t have them so it’s the liberty of each MNA to wear what they want,” said Parti Québécois MNA Catherine Fournier.