Conservative Party of Quebec leader Eric Duhaime has come out against drag queen story hours in public libraries – saying taxpayers should not be funding these events.
As reported by Le Soleil, Duhaime’s comments come amid the Quebec National Assembly unanimously adopting a motion from the left-wing Quebec Solidaire (QS) party denouncing opposition to child drag shows.
“Drag queens should not, under any circumstances, face violent insults, intolerance and hatred for their participation in children’s storytelling,” said the motion adopted by the province’s legislature.
When asked about the motion in a press conference last week, Duhaime, who is openly gay, said public funds should not go towards such events.
“I really appreciate drag queens. But it’s up to the parent to decide if they want Grandma or a drag queen to read a story to their child. It’s not up to the state. (The state) should be neutral,” said Duhaime
“When we’re in a library, in a school, we’re talking about a public place,” he added.
Duhaime says the controversy surrounding the events comes amid left-wingers importing “a reality from the United States” into Quebec. “We have to stop imposing our virtue.”
The Conservative leader does not, however, believe that drag queen story hours should be made illegal – saying people have the right to host and attend private events. He also says he does not have a problem with parents organizing and paying for a drag queen story hour in a library, as long as taxpayer resources are not being used.
Duhaime reiterated his sentiments on Twitter and criticized the labelling of parents opposed to drag queens reading gender ideology to children as “far right intolerants” by activists. He also plans to launch a petition tomorrow calling for the defunding of child drag events.
The pro-drag QS motion in the national assembly came after a planned story hour in a suburb of Montreal with prominent drag queen Barbada, who is the persona of school elementary school teacher Sebastien Potvin, faced protests.
According to Le Soleil, protestors blocked the entrance to the venue – resulting in organizers relocating the event. True North previously exclusively interviewed Potvin, who defended his story hours, claiming they are age appropriate.
Child drag shows have also been the subject of controversy and protest in the rest of Canada.
Earlier this year, Alberta Pastor Derek Reimer was arrested after protesting a drag queen story hour in a Calgary library. He currently faces numerous charges. Calgary City Council has since approved a bylaw that limits drag queen story hours protests, citing an increase in “transphobia and homophobia.”
Last week, the Ontario NDP held a press conference with several drag performers and other queer activists to announce a private members bill that aims to restrict protests against drag queen story times in order to “protect 2SLGBTQI communities.”