The city of Saguenay has vowed it has no intention of canceling an evening of stories planned for May after Quebec’s Conservative Party launched a petition to end public funding for activities that expose child drag queens.
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On May 26, “DRAGUE d’histoire” will take place at 6:30 pm at the Hélène-Penault library in Jonquière borough. This is a reading of children’s stories hosted by drag queen Karen O’Kay.
Although the announcement generated a lot of reaction on social media, Marc Bouchard, president of the Saguenay Arts, Culture and Heritage Commission, said no citizens have inquired about it in person. He said participation was on a voluntary basis and it was the parents’ choice to take their children there.
“If parents agree to show difference to their children, that’s their decision. Difference is skin colors, cultures and different ways of thinking. If we want to accustom people to diversity and inclusion, we need to be open-minded,” said Mr. Bouchard.
The latter argued that he was encouraged by Eric Duheim’s comments and that we should be transparent.
“We’re in a free country, we’re talking about inclusion and evolution, and when I hear things like that, I’m back in 1940,” he said.
The stories read to children on May 26 offer messages centered on diversity and openness, so drag queen Karin O’Kay was chosen to read them. The City of Saguenay’s website says the readings are intended to convey a fair message of openness, acceptance and respect.
“It’s art, it’s art presentation. I’ll say it, I’ll say it again, the beauty of art is that you can see something wonderful, and I can see it as ugly. If I find it ugly, I shouldn’t look at it!” said Marc Bouchard.
In the library at Saint-Catherine, Montérégie, Mr. Bouchard promised to monitor the situation at the Jonquière library to prevent overflow. He also hoped that a large number of people would participate.
“I hope the people of Sakune will come back in 2023,” he concluded.
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