Jacques Boissinot Archives La Presse canadienne/Photomontage Le Devoir From left to right, the MP for Sherbrooke, Christine Labrie, the former MP for Rouyn-Noranda–Témiscamingue Émilise Lessard-Therrien and the MP by Mercier, Ruba Ghazal.
CAQ “identity nationalism” and PQ “closed independence” will not allow Quebec to achieve sovereignty, believe the three candidates for the position of co-spokesperson for Québec solidaire (QS), Ruba Ghazal, Christine Labrie and Émilise Lessard-Therrien.
Gathered on the occasion of a debate on independence organized by the left-wing National Option collective on Monday evening, they in turn attacked the “divisive” nationalist postures put forward by the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) and the Parti Québécois (PQ).
“I do not want an independent Quebec that will fall back on itself by closing the borders,” launched the member for Sherbrooke, Christine Labrie, in a point addressed at the PQ.
“When I see the PQ having a speech about closing the borders, for me, it is not progressive. […] I don't see how we can think of achieving the independence of Quebec with such a divisive approach,” she continued.
The elected representative of Mercier, Ruba Ghazal, condemns her for her share the “nationalism alone, without wanting to achieve independence”, of the CAQ. “Often it goes wrong, or it goes to the right,” she said Monday evening.
She called on the Quebec left to “reappropriate the word “nationalism,” which is scary.” “Nationalism has been smeared,” she said. We must assume a left-wing, unifying, inclusive nationalism. We don’t hear it enough in public spaces. »
Former member for Rouyn-Noranda–Témiscamingue Émilise Lessard-Therrien, who is running as a candidate to be extra-parliamentary co-spokesperson, for her part praised the “constituent assembly” process chosen by the solidarity members for the accession to sovereignty. Made up of Quebecers from all walks of life, including several from the regions, the committee would attract a crowd of people to the sovereignist project, according to her.
“We must focus on our “commons”. What do we want to do together as a people,” said the former solidarity elected official.
Not enough talk about independence
According to Ms. Lessard-Therrien, QS did not help itself last year by removing independence from its electoral speech.
“Now is the time more than ever, between now and the next campaign, to prepare this ground, and for it to be put forward in 2026,” she stressed on Monday. We must take note of the fact that people actually find that we do not talk about it enough. There is an appetite in the region for a renewed independence discourse. »
According to Christine Labrie, who admits not having always had the independence flame, there were other subjects to discuss during the electoral campaign in 2022, which explains why the sovereignty of Quebec had the place it had. in the solidarity strategy.
“What I noticed was that during the last electoral campaign, people wanted us to talk about inflation,” she said. I don't necessarily have any regrets. I don't think that's what people wanted to see from us and that it would have changed the outcome for us. »
Ruba Ghazal believes, on the contrary, that QS made a mistake by hiding its constituent assembly project during its public campaign outings.
“Culture, what threatens it, is not immigrants, but large multinationals. We need all our levers to protect the environment. There are lots and lots of ways to talk about independence in a concrete way so that ears that usually don't open to us are opened,” she said.
The environmental argument cannot be neglected, added Ms. Lessard-Therrien. “We will not be able to effectively fight climate change without [repatriating] all our powers to Quebec,” she said. There is an opportunity to bring together new support. There are people who are not necessarily pro-independence, who are very environmentalists, and who will begin to see the advantages that it can have. »
The next female spokesperson for Québec solidaire will be chosen during the party's members' congress at the end of November. Until then, another debate organized by the party must take place in Trois-Rivières at the end of October.