Will the QS activist base want regions?

“I was at the founding conference of Québec solidaire, I was even at the founding conference of Option Citoyene some two years earlier. There were people who left by tearing up their membership cards at the founding conference. This is not something new. On the other hand, I am always heartbroken when it happens,” Alexandre Leduc admitted from the outset in the press scrum on Saturday morning.

In an open letter addressed to party members earlier this week, the member for Hochelaga-Maisonneuve asked members to “stay” despite the outcome of the weekend’s solidarity rally. Saturday and Sunday are likely to be busy with debates.

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Alexandre Leduc said that he had also experienced disappointments within the party, several times in the past. However, he expressed optimism that the democratic character of the party would once again overcome the apparent rifts. (Tom Core/The Daily)

After a tour of the regions carried out in recent months, Québec solidaire wishes in particular to move forward with a proposal aimed at “applying the principle of zero net job loss within each region” in its Saguenay Declaration. In the same vein, the party wishes to recognize “the importance, for many regions of Quebec, of quality jobs linked to the exploitation of natural resources.”

The problem is that these directions that the party wishes to take are not unanimous. Amendments proposed by the activist base will actually be studied in plenary on Saturday afternoon. Depending on the outcome of the votes, it is possible that certain commitments will be modified from the Saguenay Declaration, or even deleted.

The Bonaventure solidarity association, for example, opposes the statement on sensitivity to quality jobs in the region, pointing out that “so-called quality jobs which destroy the environment and harm harmony and the social peace of communities is only as good as the size of the salary.” Another Montreal activist association, that of Bertrand, considers the idea of ​​guaranteeing no job loss in the context of a possible environmental transition unrealistic.

Emilise’s legacy

In her speech marking the opening of the 20th national council, the interim co-spokeswoman, Christine Labrie, immediately admitted that everyone, including her, would have preferred that Émilise Lessard-Therrien be on the stage at her place alongside Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois. The male co-spokesperson, whose leadership has been called into question in recent weeks by certain ex-members of the party, reiterated “that he took his share of responsibility for the departure of his colleague.”

That said, the two standard bearers of Québec solidaire recalled that the process leading to the Saguenay Declaration was one which had initially been instigated by their former colleague. “What Émilise made us aware of in 2018 was in particular the importance of the mining, forestry, agricultural industries and the UPA for more rural communities. This is ultimately what we are focusing on today to make commitments together, to be closer to the world,” suggested Christine Labrie.

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Christine Labrie, like Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, recognized that the impromptu departure of Émilise Lessard-Therrien was a collective failure for the party. (Tom Core/The Daily)

Despite the optimism in their tone, the interventions of the solidarity elected officials were overshadowed by this palpable tension, this apprehension of agitated discussions. The activists present were also asked to demonstrate harmony in their discussions. Martin Roy, member of the ethics committee of Québec Solidaire, invited members “to avoid blaming others and looking for culprits.”

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