Meet the David sisters: Siblings on opposite sides of the sovereignty debate
Published Friday, March 28, 2014 10:58PM EDT Last Updated Friday, March 28, 2014 11:59PM EDT
Quebec sovereignty has been at the heart of discussions around the dinner table for many families in the province.
For one family, opposing political views on the future of Quebec are playing out on the campaign trail.
Helene David, the sister of the high-profile Quebec solidaire co-spokesperson Francoise David, announced her intention to run for the Quebec Liberal party in the Outremont riding on Mar. 2.
“They say, ‘Ah! You’re Francoise’s sister’,” Helene David told CTV Montreal. “’You look like her, you don’t look like her,’ they’re always comparing.”
Helene David holds a PhD in psychology and currently serves as vice-rector of international relations, the Francophonie and institutional partnerships at Universite de Montreal.
She said it was time to commit to politics because she’s concerned about future generations.
“What is going on in Quebec is very alarming, I think,” Helene David said at a news conference.
She said she couldn’t remain a neutral observer as the Parti Quebecois’ proposed Charter of Quebec Values created a “climate of division and confrontation.”
Meanwhile, her older sister Francoise, who is currently the Member of National Assembly in the riding of Gouin, gained a reputation as a strong debater during Quebec’s last provincial election.
She’s been active in public life for 25 years, first serving as a women’s rights leader, before joining Quebec solidaire, which has been eating away at the Parti Quebecois vote with a platform of social justice and a referendum on independence.
“I don’t believe the Liberal party is the best choice for the Quebec population, but I respect people who run for Liberals as I do all parties,” Francoise said. “And I like my sister very much,” she added with a chuckle.
Politics runs in the blood of the David sisters. Their father, grandfather and great-grandfather all served as senators.
Their father Paul David was a Progressive Conservative senator, appointed in 1985 by former prime minister Brian Mulroney. Their grandfather, Louis-Athanase David, was a Liberal senator, appointed by William Lyon Mackenzie King in 1940. And their great-grandfather, Laurent-Olivier David was appointed to the Senate in 1903 on the advice of Wilfrid Laurier.
“We were raised with the value of social engagement, not only political, but social,” said Helene David.
And the two sisters have followed in the political footsteps of their forefathers, but by taking their own separate paths.
So will there be any tension at the dinner table if both are elected?
“We have a different way to see the future of Quebec, but we share the same values of engagement and social justice,” said Helene David.
With files from CTV Montreal’s Genevieve Beauchemin