PQ won't run a candidate in Fatima Houda-Pépin's riding

Bernard Drainville addresses reporters in Lemoyne Friday.
Dan Delmar/CJAD

A surprising move by the Parti Québécois Friday.

The party announced it won't be running a candidate in the south shore riding of La Pinière, which is currently held by estranged Liberal Fatima Houda-Pépin.

Houda-Pépin had a much-publicized blowup with the Liberal party's brass last fall, at the peak of the debate over the PQ's secularism charter.

Houda-Pépin, a Muslim, disagreed with the party over its apparent willingness to accept a candidate who would wear a piece of Muslim clothing called a chador — something she called a symbol of oppression.

Later, as an independent MNA, tabled her own version of the charter in the National Assembly.

Bernard Drainville, the minister responsible for the charter, was in the riding today, saluting Houda-Pépin as a woman of courage, and said her candidacy is one that supports much of what the PQ is trying to accomplish with the charter.

"Houda-Pépin's candidacy is a candidacy for equality between men and women, for the religious neutrality of the state...and it's first and foremost an important voice in this debate," Drainville told reporters. "We don't wish for Houda-Pépin's voice to be extinguished.

"Philippe Couillard and the Liberals want to extinguish Fatima Houda-Pépin's voice."

The Liberals have chosen Gaétan Barrette, the head of Quebec's medical specialists' association, to run in the riding.

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