Sat. Dec 9th, 2023

Analysis | Conservative Party  : between rebellion and institutionalization

Open in full screen mode

The party leader, Éric Duhaime, obtained 77% support during vote of confidence on Sunday.

  • Hugo Lavallée (View profile)Hugo Lavallée

Feature trial

Log inCreate my account

Speech synthesis, based on artificial intelligence, makes it possible to generate spoken text from written text.

Even before the start of the congress , conservative organizers suggested that the vote of confidence to which Éric Duhaime would have to submit would not be easy.

With 77.5% support, the Conservative leader obtained more than the 76.2% which pushed Bernard Landry to resign, but we are far from the 98.6% and 98.5% recently obtained by François Legault and Paul St-Pierre Plamondon.

Any comparison has its limits; not only does each party have its own internal culture, but the Conservative Party remains a young political group. Of course, it was officially established almost 15 years ago, but the new momentum it has enjoyed in recent years practically amounts to a refoundation.

From an external point of view, such timid support may seem surprising. With Éric Duhaime at its head, the Conservative Party of Quebec obtained 12.9% of the vote in the last elections, compared to 1.5% in 2018. Its number of members and its financing have also experienced spectacular growth thanks to of the pandemic, even if the trend has since reversed.

The main concern is that the leader was unable to elect a single deputy, which many activists continue to criticize him for. With around 70,000 more votes across Quebec, the PQ obtained three which, we see on a daily basis, makes a big difference in its ability to assert itself.

The voting method is certainly in question, but many members still wonder about the Conservative Party's campaign strategy. Should we have been more clearly in opposition to the political system? Become more abrasive towards the media? Court less the anglophones of Montreal to devote more energy to Chaudière-Appalaches? Not everyone agrees, but Éric Duhaime says he is already learning lessons from the last elections.

In his speech, following the vote of confidence, Éric Duhaime made it clear that his party was one of rebels… while adding, later at a press briefing, to be proud to see it become institutionalized. . If the two concepts are not irreconcilable in the eyes of the leader, activists would rather see their party make a choice.

Several of them want the PCQ to professionalize and turn the page on the pandemic, but another fringe would rather see it shake the cage of the political and media establishment with more vigor. The race for the presidency of the party, which led to the election of Chantal Dauphinais, was also partly structured around these divergent visions.

A certain distrust also seems to remain between the different camps. To the surprise of many observers, activists immediately expressed doubts about the integrity of the vote which began on Saturday morning. The voting period, originally scheduled for two days, was ultimately shortened, in part because there were concerns about who would watch the ballot boxes during the night.

Beyond their differences in strategic approach, the Conservatives especially took advantage of the weekend to better define their common values ​​and their political project. After long hours of debate, they managed to get through a dense book of proposals of around a hundred pages. The party wants to demonstrate that it has depth, but there is still much to do to have a complete and attractive program.

If the PCQ distinguishes itself from its adversaries on the place of private health or on the exploitation of hydrocarbons, the discussions we witnessed on the reform of the voting system could very well have taken place in another political party. The common thread of the congress was autonomy, but certain proposals will still need to be clarified. Above all, it is far from certain that they will be enough to attract voters.

During the debate on a proposal calling for more powers from the federal government, a member presented an amendment evoking the independence of Quebec, in the event that it is impossible to come to an agreement with Ottawa. The amendment was defeated, but we can sense that activists believe they have not yet gotten to the bottom of certain issues.

Even if it would have no doubt liked to garner the support of a greater proportion of his activists, Éric Duhaime was categorical following the vote of confidence: he is here to stay. We also wonder who could replace him. His notoriety is far greater than any other member of the party.

The next few years, however, are likely to be more difficult than the last for the leader, especially if the PCQ does not manage to benefit from the CAQ's disappointment in the polls. The honeymoon with the activists is well and truly over.

Not only must the Conservative Party succeed in getting noticed on a political scene that is already quite cluttered, but it must also define itself better, mature and, above all, ensure its internal cohesion.

  • Hugo Lavallée (View profile)< source srcset=",w_160/v1/personnalites-rc/1x1/lavallee-hugo.png" media="(min-width: 0px) and (max-width: 1023px)">Hugo LavalléeFollow

By admin

Related Post