The PLQ does not commit to Quebec reintegrating the constitution by 2030

The PLQ does not commit to Quebec reintegrating the constitution by 2030
The PLQ does not commit to Quebec reintegrating the constitution by 2030

There are many other advances to be made in federalism before Quebec finally manages to sign the Canadian constitution, suggested interim Liberal leader Marc Tanguay on Sunday at the end of his party’s general council in Bromont, in Estrie.

Remember that Quebec did not sign the Canadian constitution when it was repatriated in 1982 by the federal government of Pierre Trudeau. Attempts by the Liberal government of Robert Bourassa to reinstate it with conditions subsequently failed, with the Meech Lake and Charlottetown agreements.

Throughout the weekend, PLQ elected officials and activists argued that it is the real alternative to the current CAQ government and that it is clearly aiming for a return to power in 2026.

The PLQ defines itself in particular as the only federalist party in the National Assembly, to combat the independence of the Parti Québécois (PQ). Is this possible when in its eventual mandate, a Liberal government works to bring Quebec into the constitutional order?

“I am not going to put an expiration date or a date,” replied Mr. Tanguay at a press conference at the end of the general council.

“Quebec must assume its leadership role within the Canadian federation and perhaps, ultimately, reach a constitutional agreement, but in the meantime, there are so many tangible things to achieve.”

Mr. Tanguay accuses the CAQ government of François Legault of not playing the role of leader in Canada, particularly within the Council of the Federation or through interprovincial agreements.

He recalled that his party still relies on the five “historic conditions” of the Meech Lake agreement, the traditional demands of Quebec, to reintegrate the constitution: recognition of Quebec’s right of veto and the right to withdraw programs federal with full compensation; limitation of federal spending power; increased powers of Quebec in matters of immigration; Quebec’s participation in the appointment of Supreme Court judges; recognition of Quebec as a distinct society.

“Can we improve the federation? Very clearly, but we are not leaving this afternoon to sign the Canadian constitution,” admitted Mr. Tanguay.

Before him, the Liberal government of Jean Charest argued that “the fruit was not ripe” to begin a round of constitutional negotiations with the other provinces and Ottawa.

The CAQ government maintains that it is making piecemeal gains in federalism, without clinging to its list of nationalist demands.

The PLQ is the “only party whose vocation is to always move the federation forward and to come up with proposals,” affirmed Mr. Tanguay.

But we will still have to wait for a new constitutional position. A party committee is currently looking at the affirmation of Quebec in Canada and in the world, argued Sunday the president of the national political commission of the PLQ, former senator André Pratte.

His proposals should serve both Quebec and Canada, he suggested.

“What kind of change, reform, improvement can there be in the federation that would serve the interests of the federation and the interests of Quebec,” he mentioned.

In addition, candidates for party leadership could well address the theme, said Mr. Tanguay, during the five debates planned in the race which will end in June 2025.

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