Melanie Joly defends choice of former escort as candidate
In the Plateau-Mont Royal De Lorimier riding, Coderre's team is running a lawyer, Bergeron’s team is running a school commissioner, Marcel Cote is running a real estate agent and Melanie Joly is running a transgender individual, who worked as an escort until last year.
Bibiane Bovet’s avowed past as a worker in the sex trade created a stir Friday, as a scrum of reporters queried mayoral candidate Joly about her unconventional candidate.
Joly said that she has known of Bovet’s background since they met earlier this year. She said that Bovet has no criminal record and that her profession is not illegal in any criminal sense.
Joly said that the only two conditions she made upon her candidate were that Bovet assure her she has left the sex trade and that she will no longer provide any similar services, including therapeutic massage.
Bovet has not worked as an escort since early in 2012, according to Joly.
“For me it would have been easier to drop my candidate and say, ‘Yes I made a mistake,’ but in truth she has my entire support and the support of the entire team and Bibiane Bovet will represent her citizens well in the Plateau,” said Joly.
Joly, who is also a lawyer, said that she knows enough about the law to realize that Bovet has crossed no legal lines.
Several reporters asked whether Bovet had paid income tax on the money she made in the skin trade but Joly did not reply directly.
When asked whether Bovet would be dropped if it were discovered that she had failed to pay income tax in her earnings in the skin trade, Joly replied: “One has to respect the law but she has my entire support. She is not one of the people who filled her pockets at city hall.”
Bovet advertised her services under the name Jena Roberts and reportedly used the earnings to pay for a costly sex reassignment surgery. She describes herself as a "cultural psychoanalyst" on a professional online profile.
The De Lorimier riding had been previously held by Josee Duplessis of Projet Montreal who recently quit politics to raise her son.
Among the candidates competing with Bovet for the seat are Suzanne Craig of the Coalition Montreal, Louise Mainville of the Projet Montreal and Carmelle Marchesssault of the Equipe Denis Coderre.
Frontrunner Denis Coderre said he had no issue with such a candidate when asked about it Friday.
"Every leader has their own way of picking their candidates. At the end of the day we’ll let the people judge. I’m not going to prejudge or label any other candidate because this is not the kind of politics people want," he said.