De Sousa accused of sexism over lipstick, mascara budget comments
City Councillor Alan De Sousa is under fire for comments he made about the city’s budget that some are calling sexist.
In a news conference on Tuesday, De Sousa used colourful language to criticize the budget presented by Mayor Valerie Plante’s administration.
“I would qualify this as a budget with a lot of makeup, a lot of lipstick, a lot of mascara, a lot of powder,” he said. “A budget that when you remove the makeup is a pretty ugly budget.”
Cote-Des-Neiges-NDG Mayor Sue Montgomery, who is part of Plante’s Projet Montreal party, said De Sousa went too far.
“He doesn’t get it, he’s a dinosaur,” she said. “Was it offensive? Yes. Because he’s insinuating that unless you’re wearing makeup, you’re ugly.”
It was a sentiment echoed by City Councillor Peter McQueen.
“It suggests you rate women on their looks,” he said. “That’s what it comes down to and it suggests if a woman doesn’t look good enough, she’s worthless.”
On Wednesday, De Sousa apologized to city council for his language but defended himself by saying he was expanding on a common expression.
“My objective has never been to cause offence to anyone,” he said. “The expression in English is ‘putting lipstick on a pig,’ even if you put lipstick, you can’t conceal the fact that it’s a pig.”
De Sousa said he was trying to bring attention to what he called shortcomings in the budget, such as rising expenses and debt.
His colleague, Marvin Rotrand, came to his defence, calling him “a model of tolerance, acceptance and respect.”
“I think his words are being spun out of context so he would look bad.”