Caroline Proulx

Ministre du Tourisme et ministre responsable des régions de Lanaudière et du Bas-Saint-Laurent

It’s encouraging to see a shift in the number of women engaging in politics, not only because we are seeking gender balance but because women now understand that politics can channel their need for change and for improvement.

In your opinion, what qualities make a “Power Woman”?

What works for me is heart and passion, plain and simple. This is how I chose to live my life, in and out of my workspace, and I feel you can never get enough of both.

What benefits and advantages does a company with positive gender equality have over a male dominated workplace?

To me it’s a question of balance. The beauty of a workspace is when you have a mix of genders, skill sets and experience. It can only enrich the thinking process and bring different perspectives on how to apprehend a task or challenge.

Is there one particular issue in your life you are passionate about? Something that overrides all of your objectivity?

The elderly. There is so much to learn from our elders and I believe it’s time we fully recognize their value and importance in our society. It’s very inspiring and humbling to see the place they hold in certain cultures -Italy for instance- and we as North Americans should follow the example.

What do you think is the number one action we as a society can take toward powering women and gender equality? (e.g. affirmative action)? What can we do to continue to support and enhance the growth and presence of women in high profile positions?

We must continue to ensure that every child and teenage girl has access to quality education. It is a space where they learn and become passionate about certain issues. This is in part how they become emancipated women driven by determination. It’s also a space where they make other female friends and sisterhood has a huge impact on women’s empowerment.

Can you tell us a short story in which you encountered a block due to your gender?

I come from the media business where I worked for 30 years, and from an era when women rarely had opportunities to host morning or rush hour radio shows. On top of that I was the daughter, and niece of two renowned talk radio hosts and was under a lot of scrutiny from my peers. Let’s just say I did not get a free ride, but thankfully, that is not so much the case nowadays and we hear a lot more women on these shows. And they do very well!

Was there a defining moment or experience in your life that led you to where you are today? What was it?

Therapy. I was once in a vulnerable state, overwhelmed by fear and doubt. Therapy helped me to recognize, acknowledge and make changes that I needed to become the woman I am today. I still have doubts but at least, I have learned to accept and love myself. These 14 months allowed me to take decisions not based on what others would have liked me to do or to be but based on what I really wanted in my heart.

Have you seen changes in the political landscape for women over the past few years? If so, what are they?

It’s encouraging to see a shift in the number of women engaging in politics, not only because we are seeking gender balance but because women now understand that politics can channel their need for change and for improvement. This year for instance, our team, Coalition Avenir Québec, is running with a majority of female candidates. There is also an increasing number of women being nominated in key positions within the government or in organizations related to the government.

Is “Education, education and education” one of the top three responsibilities of a civilized society? If not why not? If so why is it prohibitively expensive? Also who should decide on the curriculum?

Education is core to a strong and prosperous society and it should be a priority. Period.

If you could have someone else’s job for a day, who and what would it be? Why?

I would be an air pilot: Amelia Earhart, a strong headed, audacious, bold and courageous red head.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Talk less, listen more. A lesson I try to put in practice each day.

What is your favorite book (fiction or non-fiction)?

Même le silence a une fin (“Even Silence Has an End”) by Ingrid Betancourt.

What do you most value in your friends?


Which trait do you find most uncomfortable in yourself? In others?

My sense of humour tends to be a little “caustic” at times, and I have to pay attention to an audience before spicing up my shtick! As for others, I get uncomfortable when their social
status becomes a filter in how they interact with people. I like to think that becoming a minister hasn’t changed me as a person. People should be looked at in the eyes, smiled at and thanked regardless of who they are or what they do.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

While we as a society seem to value tolerance as a virtue, I wonder how much of it really transpires in social media and life in general. I am concerned with how easy it is nowadays to ban someone from the public arena simply because his/her opinion or beliefs don’t follow the dominant current.

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