A Quebec City trans activist and lawyer says the NDP dumped her from her candidacy in a federal Quebec City riding because of her gender identity.
"I was a very attractive candidate when I was chosen to run for the NDP but now, nine months later, it seems I have lost all of my sex appeal," Micheline Anne Montreuil told Xtra.
Montreuil, who has been involved with the NDP on and off since the late 1970s, says Raymond Guardia, cochair of the party's Quebec electoral planning committee, contacted her with a list of reasons for dumping her that included a desire by potential candidates in other ridings to not have their names associated with hers. She says the suggestion that she doesn't work well with others couldn't be further from the truth.
"I'm doing everything I can to foster a team environment by having meetings with all of the NDP candidates in the Quebec City area to push the idea of having a regional office to help everyone," says Montreuil.
Montreuil cites various positions she holds in the NDP — including cochair of the Quebec section's LGBTT Commission, cochair of the federal party's LGBT Commission and her membership on the party's federal council — as examples of her successful group work.
"It's funny that I'm good enough to serve on all of these committees but not good enough to be elected," she says.
An NDP spokesperson says Montreuil's gender identity is not the reason she was given the boot.
"She can say whatever she likes but she knows our reasons and she knows that her gender identity is not one of them," says Matthew McLauchlin, copresident of the NDP Quebec section's LGBTT commission. "Essentially the reason we couldn't retain her candidacy is because of her behaviour toward other NDP activists."
McLauchlin says Montreuil promised to tone down her language when speaking in public after the party told her language she used in media interviews was too strong.
"In her first few interviews she used metaphors that were violent and pugnacious," McLauchlin alleges. "Any candidate can make a gaffe, however the problem with Ms Montreuil is that when we gave her feedback about her language she said she understood our concerns and would express herself more appropriately but then didn't.
"The Quebec election planning committee would much rather have kept Ms Montreuil as a candidate, however this kind of disregard on her part made it impossible to do so," he says.
McLauchlin says there are no hard feelings toward Montreuil.
"I don't want to diminish her victories as a trans activist," he says. "That's what attracted the NDP to her as a candidate in the first place. I hope her work for trans rights continues, as ours will."
Montreuil's victories include a decision last year by The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal that the Canadian Forces discriminated against her because of her sexuality when it passed her up for a job. She won a similar case against the National Bank in 2004.