Jacques Boissinot The Canadian Press The interim leader of the Liberal Party of Quebec, Marc Tanguay, described Prime Minister François Legault as ” PQ in the closet” during his party’s general council on Saturday.
At the opening of the general council which must define the “bold” and “unifying” nationalism of their party, liberal activists mocked, on Saturday, the “sovereignist” positions of Prime Minister François Legault.
“It is time for the English-speaking community to go on the offensive,” said Antoine Dionne Charest, member of the Committee on the Relaunch of the Liberal Party of Quebec (PLQ), in a press scrum.
< p>In his opinion, the PLQ is offering English-speakers in Quebec the opportunity to participate in a “common project” and in this, it distinguishes itself from the Coalition Avenir Québec. To illustrate his point, Mr. Dionne Charest blasted the government's decision to increase tuition fees for new foreign students or students from other Canadian provinces starting in winter 2024.
“Let’s make no mistake, [Friday’s] announcement is a frontal attack. Not just against English-speaking institutions in Quebec, but against the English-speaking community,” he said. “They behave like sovereignists,” he also declared about the CAQ members.
The interim leader of the PLQ, Marc Tanguay, for his part described Mr. Legault as a “PQ in the closet.” And “from time to time, we see it come out,” he continued.
With the announcement on tuition fees, “François Legault […] had all his PQ points in trying to divide Quebecers once again,” said Mr. Tanguay.
A “liberal” Constitution
In the opinion of the interim leader, the draft Constitution of Quebec on which the PLQ is working is in fact a draft “liberal constitution”.
“For us, [it is not] a constitution [ …] PQ-Caquist that we are going to propose, it is a liberal constitution,” he said. In his opinion, this project would protect English-speaking universities from policies such as the increase in tuition fees for foreign students.
“What we would eventually put in this constitution would reaffirm the rights of all Quebecers, particularly English-speakers. […] It will be supra-legislative,” declared Mr. Tanguay. “It would help us, perhaps, to reduce the impact that bad PQ-CAQ decisions could have. »
Pressed with questions about the partisan nature he gave to the project, Mr. Tanguay tried to qualify his remarks. “It is clear that it is a Constitution of Quebec, but one that will be debated by liberal activists. And, in that sense, it would not be the same type of Constitution that Paul St-Pierre Plamondon or François Legault would propose,” he said.
Federalist, here to stay
Once again, the liberal gathering organized in Drummondville opened with debates on the place that nationalism should take within the political party.
< p>“My party is hurting me,” said an activist who spoke at the microphone. “If Quebec, within its nation, requires me to be a nationalist in order to be liberal… No. I am a federalist, I remain a federalist. And I'm here to stay”, she warned.
Another activist recalled that he voted for the PLQ in 1976 because “the party did not put the word nation in his program.” However, this word “recurs approximately 150 times” in the Committee’s report on recovery, he lamented. The word “nationalism” appears, in fact, 24 times in the 80-page document.
Other activists, on the contrary, said they recognized themselves in the document. “I am a nationalist, also a federalist, and I think that we should not oppose the two,” said activist Julie White, for example.
Marc Tanguay, for his part, said he defended the interests English speakers and the protection of the French language “with equal passion.”
Show of force by Frédéric Beauchemin
Just excluded from the Liberal caucus, Frédéric Beauchemin presented himself on Saturday at the party's general council in Drummondville, surrounded by around ten activists. The member for Marguerite-Bourgeoys, the only one to have expressed an interest in the leadership of the Liberal Party of Quebec, is the subject of a complaint of psychological harassment. He denies the allegations against him. The plaintiff in this case is the president of the party's youth wing, Élyse Moisan. She must be present at the weekend gathering. However, despite this context, Mr. Beauchemin denies any discomfort. “I don’t perceive [my presence] as an affront,” he defended himself. “[The PLQ] is a party that is open, which ensures that everyone can come under the tent. »
The interim leader of the PLQ, Marc Tanguay, for his part declared that the complaint against his MP was not the only element leading to his suspension from the caucus. The chosen one was put aside “for the whole work”, he said. When the complaint against him was filed, Mr. Beauchemin said he saw it as “a symptom of the crisis hitting the PLQ.” He added that various party authorities were “paralyzed by the absence of clear direction.”
Antoine Dionne Charest, member of the Committee on the relaunch of the PLQ, for his part was delighted of the presence of Mr. Beauchemin at the general council. “He is a party activist, he has his place here. I'm glad he's here. I know one thing about Fred Beauchemin: he is sincerely committed to relaunching the party,” he declared.