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A test for Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois’ “pragmatic” turn

Photo: Jacques Boissinot The Canadian Press The co-spokesperson for Québec solidaire, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, addresses a question to the government during question period at the National Assembly on Wednesday in Quebec

The “pragmatic” turn of Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois will be put to the test this weekend at the national council of Québec solidaire (QS). But the 33-year-old politician's place at the head of the party is not in danger, according to activists interviewed by Le Devoir.

Despite the turmoil in which Mr. Nadeau-Dubois has been plunged since the resounding departure of co-spokesperson Émilise Lessard-Therrien in April, a vote of confidence is, to say the least, improbable. The party's regulations do not provide for any steps in this direction, and neither do the ordinary proposals on which activists will vote this weekend. According to the members we surveyed this week, the elected representative of Gouin is therefore out of danger on this level.

The national council of the weekend constitutes despite quite a “pivotal moment” for QS, underlines one of the founding members of the political party, François Saillant, in an interview with Le Devoir. “The left does not have the means to divide itself,” he maintains.

Three weeks ago, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois put forward a proposal for “modernization” of the party’s program to enable it to “govern” once and for all. His shift, detailed before the media during a long press scrum at the Parliament Building, has since given way to a series of exchanges by letter from the four corners of Québec solidaire.

The former solidarity candidate (2018 and 2022) in Rimouski Carol-Ann Kack signed two of these open letters: the first, co-signed in particular with the former MP for Taschereau Catherine Dorion, called on party activists to refuse the “left fearful” put forward by “GND”. The second, published Thursday on the platforms of Devoir, invites members to “unite to govern differently”.

< p>In an interview, one day before the national council, Ms. Kack does not hide her game. With several party activists, she will take advantage of this weekend's debates to ask for the “deposit” of the “pragmatic” shift. of GND. “That means we’re putting it on pause,” she explains. We do not adopt all these major transformations, which come into play in our program, immediately. We say: we're going to have to take the time. »

“Our program was developed over years,” continues the solidarity activist. We do not agree with the strategy of saying: we start fresh and in a few months, we come up with something. »

An 18-year-old program

Québec solidaire is 18 years old, “the age of majority,” recalled Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois in – another – missive, published Tuesday. This weekend, the Solidarity National Coordination Committee (CCN), on which the spokespersons of the party sit, submitted to a vote a proposal aimed at “engaging the party in a process of modernization” of its program, revised for the last time in 2019.

“At the end of this process, we should therefore find ourselves with a new program that is much shorter [and] free from overly precise commitments”, underlines the CCN.

This overhaul project will not go through like a letter in the mail. In the proposal book which will be studied this weekend, the QS Inter-Union Activist Network suggests, for example, that the sentence be deleted which asks that “the program be free from overly specific political commitments”. “The program, in our opinion, should only be updated and not fundamentally transformed,” he explains.

Carol-Ann Kack, who will be present as a delegate of the local association of Rimouski, wants at least to “remove power from what is proposed” by the CCN, if the attempt to “pause” does not bear fruit. François Saillant, for his part, raises the risks of radical reform. “If we become a party like the others, in my opinion, there is no room for the rest of us,” he emphasizes.

Also contacted by telephone, the former general secretary and founding member of QS Gaétan Châteauneuf feels a “desire to leave this national council united”. “In an apocalyptic situation where there was a split, it would pose enormous challenges for the left. There would be a hill to go up on one side as well as the other,” he warns.

Saguenay Declaration

Developed following the party's tour of the regions, the Saguenay Declaration will also be the subject of contestations this weekend. For example, delegates included on the agenda the deletion of paragraphs from the document which emphasize “the importance […] of quality jobs linked to the exploitation of natural resources”.

“So-called “quality” jobs that destroy the environment and harm the harmony and social peace of communities are only as good as the size of the salary,” they write.

Other delegates believe that the Declaration is on the wrong track by abandoning the reform of agricultural unionism or ask for it to be clarified that a united government “will not finance projects carried out by multinationals such as that of Northvolt”.

The national solidarity council will take place from Friday to Sunday, in Jonquière.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116