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This is my last night in Québec City. Tomorrow I have to go back to Montréal for more meetings, and then back to Toronto. A bit of advice… if you’re going to visit Québec City – do it in the two or three weeks running up to Christmas. It’s the low season for tourists, prices are cheaper – and you’ll have the whole place to yourself. Places which are normally overran with tourists in the summer are completely deserted right now. You just need a tuque and life is great. The whole city is decked out for Christmas, carolers are walking around, there are Euro-style Christmas markets in the squares, and there’s no better way to get into the season. Out of curiosity, I took a quick look at hotel rates, and most places are half (or even less than half) the rates which are charged during the summer season.
It’s starting to feel like Christmas
Enough of the Christmas stuff… let’s now get into this post.
The next episode of “Qui êtes-vous?” will air across Canada on Radio-Canada on Monday, December 22 at 9:00pm. See if you can catch it. It will feature Marilou Wolfe.
Marilou Wolfe… boy… I’m not sure how far to go with this post — simply for the fact that I’m sure Marilou Wolfe simply wants to get on with life after experiencing a more-than-traumatic year (she probably needs breathing space, and I’m sure she’s not looking for more public attention than what she has already received). Therefore I’m going to be very tactful and respectful considering everything that has happened to her. Thus, I’ll offer a summary of what happened only in the most general of terms.
For the last couple of months, Canada has been gripped with women across the country coming out and telling their stories of past sexual harassment. I don’t really need to go into that aspect of things, since everyone is aware of what is happening (it was triggered by the Ghomeshi affair, amplified by the parliamentary affair, and then women across the country have been coming out ever since with their own personal experiences).
However, many people in English Canada may not be aware that Québec started to go through these events a little sooner than the rest of Canada. Québec had its own public celebrity scandal – and it gripped not only Montréwood, but the entire province.
Approximately 14 months ago, a very famous Québec comedian, Gab Roy, published a post on his personal blog describing very explicit sexual acts he wanted to perform on the celebrity actress, Mariloup Wolfe. (In Anglophone Canada, imagine if one of the best known comedians randomly described to the world how he wanted to perform obscene sexual acts with one of our best known actresses… it would be a huge scandal and the outrage would be enormous).
And what resulted in Québec was huge – and what happened was awful. I, like most other people, read Roy’s blog in complete and utter disbelief. The public was taken aghast. Actually, now that I think of it, the public outcry and anger in Québec was somewhat comparable to what we’re now seeing with the Ghomeshi affair. In this respect, Anglophone Canada and Francophone Canada very much think in the same vein, and our values in these kinds of issues definately point in the same direction. I’m not sure that many any other countries would have reacted in the same way that Canada as a whole has reacted – these things really struck a chord across the country and across our linguistic lines. (As an aside, the Ghomeshi affair and suspension of Parliamentary MPs is also garnering just as much attention in Québec as they are in Anglophone Canada).
The Gab Roy / Mariloup Wolfe scandal came to a head about 9 months ago when Wolfe sued Roy for $300,000 for public defamation — money which Roy didn’t have. He quit is career as a comedian, and basically dropped from the face of the earth (his last public appearance was on Tout le monde en parle, during which people were less than impressed with his public apology). For readers in the US, personal lawsuits are not nearly as common in Canada as they are in the US, and thus they have a lot more punch here and they can be life-breakers, not just financially, but for careers, relationships, everything really.
The final chapter in the affair occurred just a couple of weeks ago, when Mariloup Wolfe abandoned her $300,000 lawsuit. Gab Roy simply didn’t have the money, and the two settled out of court. In the end, the point was made that society simply will not tolerate this kind of behaviour. Over the past year Wolfe has played a major role in bringing attention to the issue of sexual harassment in Canada, and for this she can be credited with single handedly helping to change Canada’s views and awareness towards this issue. That’s a huge weight for anyone to carry on their shoulders – and she did it with conviction and principled action.
Anyway, enough said about that (like I said, I’m sure she wants to get on with life, and would now like to be associated with what she used to be known for; an impressive and respectable acting career).
Wolfe is a very successful and respected award-winning actress. She has been in the public eye for about 15 years (she was born in 78, so she has been an actress for her entire adult life). The shows and movies she has appeared in may not mean much to Anglophone audiences, but they are certainly well known to Francophone audiences – some of which are, or were the highest rated shows on television (La vie la vie, Caserne 24, Unité 9 and 30 vies). She also appeared in movies of varying degrees of success (one of the most successful was C.R.A.Z.Y., but she has appeared in over 10 films in the past 15 years).
On the family-roots television program “Qui êtes-vous?”, Wolfe discovers her Acadian ancestry (she makes the trip to Acadia to discover her family’s links to the expulsion of Acadians), and she also travels to Germany to discover her German roots. I likely won’t have a chance to catch the episode myself next Monday, but if you watch it, leave some comments and share your impressions of it.
Mariloup Wolfe’s official website can be viewed here: http://www.mariloupwolfe.com/