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Members of Québec solidaire (QS) will choose on Sunday the person who will succeed Manon Massé as the party's female co-spokesperson during a congress organized in Gatineau. Some hope that this election gives a “second wind” to the political party.
After two months of campaigning, the candidates for the position of co-leader word will soon meet their fate. On the eve of the vote, supporters of Ruba Ghazal, Christine Labrie and Émilise Lessard-Therrien are mobilizing.
I think that electing someone from the regions is absolutely essential, explains André Frappier, activist for the Maurice-Richard riding association in Montreal and former interim co-spokesperson. .
Like many others, he notes that QS stagnated outside major urban centers last year. He believes that the election of a new co-spokesperson from rural areas could be a strong symbol.
For this reason as well as because of his battle against the Horne Foundry, he chose to support the former member for Rouyn-Noranda–Témiscamingue , Émilise Lessard-Therrien. She held on, she fought, he said. I find that we don't have enough of women like that. I find her very inspiring.
We do not need to have someone from the regions to represent the regions, however, argues Michaël Ottereyes, former solidarity candidate in the constituency of Roberval, in Lac-Saint-Jean. It takes someone who listens to our challenges, […] who brings people together.
He sees the member for Mercier, Ruba Ghazal, matching this description, to whom he offers his support. I also appreciate his assumed sovereignist independence side, something that I don't really feel in the other two, he laments.
Christine Labrie, for her part, gained the trust of, among others, those alongside whom she campaigned last year.
She is the only one who managed to weather the CAQ storm, if you will, in 2022, outside of the two major centers, Quebec and Montreal, recalls Mélissa Généreux, defeated candidate in the constituency of Saint-François, in Estrie . In addition to resisting, she was the one who went to get the most new votes in all the constituencies of Quebec for Québec solidaire.
Above all , she highlights the speech of the member for Sherbrooke, centered, she notes, on education, health and access to housing. It still coincides with a certain movement at the moment, where we feel that people are fed up with the lack of public services.
The three activists believe that the arrival of their candidate at the head of the party could give the impetus that the troops need.
Françoise David, who was co-spokesperson for Québec solidaire from its founding in 2006 until 2017, agrees that Sunday's election could give a second wind to her former political party. There is no easy one, she must admit, particularly in reference to the unfavorable polls.
However, she does not line up behind any candidate, since she chose to remain neutral.
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Françoise David believes that QS could benefit from the “cracks” appearing within the CAQ government.
Whatever the result, I'm happy. And a lot of people in the party are happy, she assures.
Ruba Ghazal, Christine Labrie and Émilise Lessard-Therrien are all remarkable, she says, even if they don't have quite the same profile as those who preceded them. The first is a graduate of HEC and holds a master’s degree in environment. The second, holder of a master's degree in history, was a lecturer at the University of Sherbrooke. As for the third, she was a municipal councilor and farmer before becoming an MP.
Manon and I came from community backgrounds, explains Françoise David. They have a different background, they are younger than us too. They have their own way of expressing themselves. It can bring a little breath of fresh air.
François Saillant, another activist from the start, is of the same opinion.
It's still been several months, I would even say years, since Manon had faded a little from the public scene because Parliament was stifling her, as she said herself, says the author. former spokesperson for the Popular Action Front for Urban Redevelopment (FRAPRU). So, it's been about two years that there has been a single spokesperson for Québec solidaire.
Like Françoise David, he remains neutral in this race, but he believes that the new elected official must take up more space.
I think that the new person will have to be able to have all the space they want to impose their own style, he specifies. We chose that there were going to be two spokespersons, a man and a woman, and, for me, we need to find that again. It’s a way of being a united Quebec.
Moreover, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois must also submit to the vote of party members to remain co-spokesperson at the convention this weekend, an opportunity above all to gauge their mood.
I think everyone will agree on this: Québec solidaire is standing still, observes François Saillant. And as a song by Jacques Brel said: "He who does not advance goes backwards."
24•60 – Interview with Manon Massé, who takes stock of her six years as co-spokesperson.
< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">Activists concerned about a risk of plateauing also believe that the party must be more present outside the National Assembly in the future.
A party like Québec solidaire cannot succeed if there is not also an accompanying social mobilization, believes André Frappier. Change requires a balance of power.
I think what has been a little lost sight of is getting involved in the mobilizations, he adds. This is important: we must never lose sight of it.
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François Saillant salutes the work of the Québec solidaire deputies, but he invites them to propose “inspiring ideas”. There must be a social movement for a party like [ours] to progress.
When the pandemic arrived , there had been a struggle, an important social movement, around the issue of climate change, and Québec solidaire was at the heart of that, he analyzes.
For me, there is currently a social movement, he points out about the strike movement launched by public sector workers. How far this social movement will go, I don't know. […] But it's to tell people: there is a party that will support you to the end, it's Québec solidaire.
He also salutes the work of the deputies who went to the picket lines to encourage union members.
Frankly, I wouldn't do better, concludes Françoise David, who also judges that this fight is important.
At the dawn of a new stage, the challenges not lacking for Québec solidaire. Those who believed in it from the beginning are still there, but the party has a lot of work to do to prove that it can still grow.