Eric Duhaime Got Roasted For Calling Nurses & Teachers ‘Girls’ At The Leaders’ Debate

The Radio-Canada Quebec leaders’ debate lacked the cacophonous outbursts that characterized the TVA. Face-à-Face a week prior, but still had no shortage of eyebrow-raising comments — and, in the case of François Legault, literal eyebrow-raising. One remark that earned particular criticism was Quebec Conservative Party leader Éric Duhaime’s reference, not once, but twice, to grown professional women as “girls.”

The comments came during discussions about teacher and nurse retention.

“It’s true that nurses are leaving, but the solution isn’t to abolish private practices,” Duhaime argued. “Girls don’t want to work for an employer as bad as the Government of Quebec anymore.”

The second mention came 15 minutes later in response to a question from a Montreal teacher. “It’s very moving to hear from teachers like this because it’s a valuable resource,” Duhaime remarked. “We need girls like her.”

Viewers, including Duhaime’s political opponents, quickly took to Twitter to condemn the description as belittling.

“‘Girls,’ Mr. Duhaime, really? These workers deserve some respect,” Québec solidaire co-spokesperson Manon-Massé wrote. Other QS candidates joined her.

“They’re not ‘girls’ Mr. Duhaime, they are women, they are nurses, they are workers, they are health care professionals,” QS candidate in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce Élisabeth Labelle countered.

QS candidate in the South Shore riding of Marie-Victorin Shophika Vaithyanathasarma also questioned the unnecessary gendering of the profession.

“Girls? Girls? Speaking of nurses. They are women and male nurses exist too, Mr. [Duhaime],” she wrote.

MTL Blog has reached out to the Conservative Party for a comment on this story. We’ll update this article when we received a response.

Here’s just a sample of what other Twitter users had to say.


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