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At the end of a hot political weekend, QS chooses to “update” itself

Photo: Jacques Boissinot The Canadian Press In Jonquière, Quebec Solidaire activists were due to vote this weekend on a series of proposals that broke with their historical positions. In the photo, co-spokespersons Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois and Christine Labrie (acting).

Francois Carabin in Saguenay

Published yesterday at 7:39 p.m. Updated at 12:02 a.m.

  • Quebec

While the Liberals went back to talking about budgetary “rigor” and the CAQ avoided commenting on the establishment of a “numerical majority”, the solidarity groups chose this weekend to “update” themselves. They will review several aspects of their program, 18 years after the founding of the party.

Three political rallies took place this weekend, in Bromont, Saint-Hyacinthe and in Jonquière. For the Liberal Party of Quebec (PLQ), the opportunity was a good one to highlight the legacy of their former leader Philippe Couillard, elected ten years earlier to the post of Premier of Quebec.

From Estrie, and in the presence of a host of former leaders, such as Jean Charest and Dominique Anglade, the activists of the political party reconnected with an idea characteristic of the government of Mr. Couillard (2014-2018): the “budgetary rigor.” Pending, they supported a resolution to preserve “the essential services provided by the government of Quebec, particularly in education and health.”

In other words, explained the interim leader of the PLQ, Marc Tanguay, on Saturday, a Liberal government elected in 2026 would table in the first year of its mandate a plan to return to a balanced budget, to put an end to the “waste” of public funds by the CAQ government . “Rigour, rigor, I think that’s the key word,” he said.

Paradigm shift

More than 400 kilometers away, in Jonquière, the activists of Québec solidaire, on the other hand, had to decide on a series of proposals that broke with their historical positions. Two points planned to be at the center of the debates: the “Saguenay Declaration” and a project to “modernize” the solidarity program.

The first document, written at the end of a tour of the regions of deputies and members, encountered several obstacles on his way, Saturday and Sunday. After long procedural debates, some amendments and lively exchanges on the party's position with regard to the union monopoly of the Union of Agricultural Producers, it was finally adopted on the last day of the national council.

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The second proposal aimed to overhaul the Québec solidaire program. In the eyes of the party leadership and its co-spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, the 95-page document, last updated in 2019, lacks conciseness. “Although our program is the fruit of an admirable democratic exercise […], it is, on a daily basis, very difficult to use,” they argued to justify their choice.

Despite very vocal opposition in the room, the members of the left-wing political group chose on Sunday to “update” the program so that it becomes “free from commitments […] too specific”. Several delegates attempted to delay the process, in order to “take time,” but without success. After a period of consultations, QS members will decide in October 2025 on the content of their updated program.

« Exit our comfort zone”

Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois therefore emerges unscathed from his first activist gathering since the departure of solidarity co-spokesperson Émilise Lessard-Therrien. At the beginning of May, the elected official from Gouin spoke of the Declaration and the process of revising the program as the first and second projects — out of three — to make QS a “government party”.

“After 18 years, we had to step out of our comfort zone,” said the solidarity co-spokesperson in his closing speech to delegates. “At the end of the week, we debated vigorously, it’s true, but with wisdom. I think we lived up to the great and beautiful democratic tradition of Québec solidaire. »

In the days preceding the national council, Mr. Nadeau-Dubois remained vague on his intentions to stay or not, in the event of a negative vote for his two proposals. “It is certain that it will be an important moment of debate, then the tone of the exchanges, the result of the exchanges, all of that will be part of my reflections,” he said at the beginning of last week.

Satisfied to have found a “way through”, the supportive MP appeared before the media with a smile at the end of his political weekend. “I had the opportunity to interact with a lot of people at the end of the week, I observed the debates. Of course, there are criticisms, and you'd have to be a little naive to be surprised by that,” he said.

“But yes, overall, I feel that I am in my place, and I want to continue,” he continued.

The caucus of solidarity deputies will be able to use now the content of the Saguenay Declaration, which establishes for example that QS recognizes “the central role of forests and forestry in economic development” and advocates a policy of “zero net job loss” in the framework of the ecological transition.

“We have very good tools which were adopted at the end of the week with the members to better take root in the regions, which is essential in my opinion to become a government party”, underlined the co-spokesperson solidarity interim Christine Labrie, at the end of a national council bearing the title of “Close to the world”.

“Numerical majority”

Meeting in Saint-Hyacinthe, the members of the Coalition Avenir Québec held their general council for a single day, Saturday. One of the key proposals on which they had to position themselves was put into play by the CAQ's Commission for the Next Generation: it aimed to impose a minimum legal age for registering on social networks.

François Legault's party will not go that far. At the end of the debates, the delegates finally chose to launch a special transpartisan parliamentary commission on the effects of screens and social networks on young people. It is at the end of this that the government will officially take a position. “The way social media works is to get readers addicted. So, it's a bit as if they were virtual pushers, like drugs, like substances, and that's worrying,” said François Legault , Saturday.

The Parti Québécois was the only political party represented in the National Assembly not to have organized a partisan meeting this weekend. Theirs took place last April. On Tuesday, parliamentarians will begin the last two weeks of the session in Quebec.

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