Analysis | Hard return to earth for the Parti Québécois | Elections Quebec 2022

Spread the love

Analysis | Tough return to earth for the Parti Québécois | ÉQuebec 2022 elections

Negotiations with other political parties are not going as planned for the PQ.

The PQ criticizes its opponents for not taking into account the multiparty context in the distribution of parliamentary resources in the National Assembly.

After the death of the Parti Québécois had been prophesied more often than not, the results of the last elections have given renewed hope to activists. Not only is the PQ not dead, but it got close to 15% of the vote.

Galvanized, the PQ elected members bulged out their chests, trumpeting that they would not take the oath to the king and demanding “full and complete” recognition as a parliamentary group.

Reality is catching up now the Parti Québécois. If the formation managed to avoid disaster last month, it was still reduced to the weakest representation in its history, with only three deputies. Its balance of power vis-à-vis the other political parties in the National Assembly is weakened, as shown by the stalling of the ongoing negotiations on the distribution of budgets and speaking time in Parliament.

It is of course difficult to comment on the proposal currently under consideration. The Parti Québécois chose to break the confidentiality – which surrounded the exchanges between parliamentary leaders – to better denounce the attitude of its opponents. His figures are, however, questioned by other political groups, who themselves refuse to be more precise.

The PQ explains that of the 35 opposition deputies elected in the last ballot, three were elected under its banner, which gives it – within the opposition – a relative weight of around 9%. However, he denounces, the other parties offer him only 7% of the available budgets and 5% of the speaking time in question period.

The discrepancy is due to the fact that a certain form of preponderance has always been granted to the official opposition. The Parti Québécois argue, however, that in addition to their three MNAs, they still garnered, in absolute terms, more votes than the Liberal Party and almost as many as Québec solidaire.

The problem is that the decisions of the National Assembly on the organization of work are based on tradition. They are also based, with some exceptions, on the number of elected members each party has, and not on the results obtained in the elections.

In an interview on Thursday, MP Joël Arseneau attacked his opponents who refuse to change the institution in the direction of a multiparty system, where there is essentially a triple equality among the opposition parties.

The modernization of democratic institutions is certainly desirable to better reflect the new political order. However, one may wonder whether post-electoral negotiations, where each political formation defends its immediate interests, constitute the best forum for discussing more structural reforms. On this account, we should also immediately grant resources to the Conservative Party, as its leader has already demanded on several occasions.

The proposal made to the Parti Québécois can no doubt still be improved, but at the level of the National Assembly, where practices evolve slowly, the simple fact of granting formal recognition to its leader is already a step forward. In 2014, the three Québec solidaire MNAs were not entitled to so much consideration.

Negotiations are still ongoing and a compromise is still possible by the start of parliament on November 29. However, one can wonder what would happen if the Parti Québécois refused to sign the final agreement. Would the other parties be prepared to proceed without him or would they make unanimity an essential condition for their own signature?

It is often repeated that unanimous consent is necessary to amend the Rules of the Assembly, but this is not strictly correct. As the book La parliamentary procedure in Quebec teaches us, the rules have already been amended several times without the support of one or the other. political parties represented in the National Assembly, even without the endorsement of the official opposition. The Coalition avenir Québec, the Liberal Party and Québec solidaire could therefore choose to move forward without the Parti québécois.

In the absence of a unanimous agreement, the government could also begin parliamentary work on the basis of the current rules, while letting the negotiations follow their course in parallel. However, this would have many disadvantages for the members of the Parti Québécois and Québec solidaire, who would then be considered independent and could not receive the promised budgets.

Elected for the first time in the last election, Paul St-Pierre Plamondon certainly intended to shake up the established order, but his refusal to take the oath to the king already placed him in a delicate position. Not signing an agreement to which the other political parties would rally could make his position even more precarious. This is without taking into account that by disclosing the content of the negotiations in progress, it also risks alienating its vis-à-vis other political parties.

Previous Article
Next Article