Politics is also a matter of perception. François Legault’s image as a good father will probably be enough to get him re-elected, regardless of his real management of the health crisis between now and the next elections.
The Prime Minister also projects the image of a man who is interested in Quebec culture, reads Quebec novelists and essayists, watches our films and TV series and appreciates our artists. This symbol is important, especially in times of crisis, and he knows it. Its nationalism cannot be complete without first being cultural.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the Minister of Culture and Communications, Nathalie Roy, who has too often given the impression that subscribers have been absent for a year. Is this a false perception? Does the Prime Minister take center stage in culture, to the detriment of his minister? Does it shade him?
” No no no ! Not at all, said the minister in an interview. Listen, me, the victimhood, too little for me, sir! I have been in Parliament for eight years. Listen, no. I don’t have the posture of a victim. Not at all. ”
Whether or not this perception is anchored in reality, it is very real. Minister Roy may have announced investments of tens of millions of dollars in projects and infrastructure, before and during the pandemic, her collaborators may have struggled to contain the disaster that is befalling the cultural community in particular, many continue. to grieve for his lack of leadership. Or his apparent lack of leadership?
The Minister believes, in fact, that it is a question of perception. We can guess a little desire in her not to benefit from the same apparent sympathy of artists for her federal counterpart, Steven Guilbeault.
As for perception, I will not judge. I will be judged by those who decide to give me the mark they want. But I, I know that I work for them [les artistes].
Nathalie Roy, Minister of Culture and Communications
Why do we not see and hear the minister more? many artists ask themselves, while the culture industry is one of the most affected by this pandemic. We lost more jobs there, proportionately, than in the restaurant and hotel sectors. One in four cultural workers has lost their job in the country in the past year. Many others are thinking of leaving the cultural world for good. This will represent, even in the short term, a very significant loss of expertise.
“Me, my goal is not for everyone to reorient themselves,” says Nathalie Roy. On the contrary, it is to keep our cultural ecosystem as alive as possible so as not to lose this fine expertise. ”
Some 80% of Quebec cultural businesses suffered a significant drop in their activities during the first wave of the pandemic, a direct consequence of the measures put in place by the Legault government to manage the health crisis, compared to 41.3% of Quebec businesses. all sectors combined, reported in November The duty. Almost 60% of cultural businesses have lost more than half of their income and half of them have had to lay off their employees. We can assume that the impact of the second wave on the cultural industry will be of the same order.
In 2020, Radio-Canada recently reported, the proportion of members of the Guild of Musicians of Quebec earning $ 20,000 or less per year rose from 20% to 56%. In a survey conducted by the Guild among 750 members, they gave a score of 62% to the federal government for its management of the pandemic, against only 25% for the government of Quebec.
The Legault government has however made unprecedented investments in culture. What is wrong? Many artists and artisans, whether they are actors, musicians or even technicians, have the impression that this invested money does not reach them. At least not as much as the Trudeau government’s PCU.
“When you are an artist or a musician and you receive the PCU, that you receive a federal check, it gives the impression that the federal government is supporting you, but not Quebec,” believes Minister Roy. Its role, she says, “is not to send unemployment” or “checks with a small flag”, much less to establish direct contact with artists and to open up accusations of favoritism.
“I understand very well the anguish of an environment which lives from contract to contract,” she said. Artists, who for the most part are not employees, are not entitled to unemployment. The PKU came like a balm because it was understood that they were not eligible for unemployment. The Minister of Finance, not the Minister of Canadian Heritage, was able to help the federal government. And we have taken additional measures to support organizations. Imagine if we hadn’t put those pennies on. ”
Artists need to be reassured. She defends herself well, but Nathalie Roy does not send them, since the beginning of the crisis, the image of a pasionaria which imposes the authority necessary to defend tooth and nail, successfully, their interests in the Council of Ministers. Rather, it sends back to its detractors the image of a minister who does not always have the right reflexes, does not fully master her files and is not particularly interested in culture.
She reminds me, on the contrary, that her love of culture is sincere, and not only because a “little artist slumbers in her” and that she has done painting, dance, clarinet and piano. classic for 10 years, without great talent, she explains humbly.
While it is true that the watchword in the government was at the start of the health crisis to let the Prime Minister speak, for reasons of consistency and intelligibility of the message, Minister Roy never appeared. take over thereafter. As if the baton had never been passed on to her or that she hadn’t understood it properly during the race. For many, she has remained the extra in a play without spectators. A ghost minister lurking in the shadows.
There is a saying: When you can’t be seen, you don’t exist. Here ! We are in the world of perception, once again. We were there and we were working together. You know, there was more than one cabinet meeting a week. The words of the artists, it has passed. And she passed constantly.
Nathalie Roy, Minister of Culture and Communications
The Minister of Culture also said to have “a very attentive ear” to the Prime Minister.
During the first months of the crisis, some accused her of being more concerned with the environment she knows, that of television (she had long been a news reader at TQS), to the detriment of others. She was slow to get in touch with performing artists, for example, which certainly nourished – we come back to it – this perception.
On the contrary, the Minister maintains that she has been in frequent contact with artisans from all artistic disciplines since last March. “If, at the beginning, they didn’t see me, it was a communication strategy, insofar as I was talking to groups,” she says. I know I was talking to them. The phone is there, the door is open. I am always available. You just have to ask me, of course, if there is any time left in my agenda! ”
In her defense, Minister Roy is undoubtedly the victim of a form of snobbery on the part of certain artists who consider her as a foreign body in their universe. That said, she is also part of a government that sometimes seems out of step with the reality of artists. Artists who, for the vast majority, will never be able to afford a grand piano, like the Minister of Agriculture, André Lamontagne, to furnish a living room as large as the apartment for which they are struggling to pay the rent. since a year…
Regardless of the reasons, real or false, justified or not, Minister Roy has image and communication problems. From a former TV reporter, it’s ironic to say the least.