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Despite his absence, Lessard-Therrien at the heart of the QS gathering

Photo: Spencer Colby The Canadian Press The former female co-spokesperson for Québec solidaire, Émilise Lessard-Therrien, left her position on April 29, citing difficulties integrating into the party's management team and a lack of systematic support in her extra-parliamentary functions.

Francois Carabin in Saguenay

Posted at 11:09 a.m. Updated at 1:48 p.m.

  • Quebec

Gathered in a national council in Jonquière, the activists of Québec solidaire (QS) heal the wounds of a “collective failure”: the departure as spokesperson of Émilise Lessard-Therrien.

Despite her absence, the former member of Parliament for Rouyn-Noranda — Témiscamingue spoke on Saturday morning at the Jonquière CEGEP. Unexpected until a few weeks ago, a closed session had been organized so that members could speak to each other in the face of the internal crisis which is shaking the party. At the entrance to the activist body, on a table covered with photos of the resigning spokesperson, a piece of paper displayed this message: “those who want to send a thought or a gift from the heart to Émilise, everything will be sent to her with delegates from his constituency.”

“It was Émilise who should have been alongside Gabriel to launch the national council. Everyone would have preferred it to be her on the microphone,” said her interim replacement, Christine Labrie, in front of the approximately 200 delegates present on Saturday.

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Citing difficulties integrating into the party's management team and a lack of systematic support in her extra-parliamentary functions, Émilise Lessard-Therrien left her post on April 29.

In a letter that she sent to the party leadership and the caucus of solidarity deputies on the eve of her departure, the former elected official deplores her inability to settle into her new position. “It seems absurd to me that a female co-spokesperson who does not have the same visibility and resources as an MP does not have the bare minimum to function,” she maintains in her text, made public on Saturday by Radio-Canada.

In his first speech since the events of last month, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois made a point of apologizing for not having “saw Émilise’s exhaustion coming” Lessard-Therrien. “I regret having failed to prevent his departure. I have my share of responsibility in this departure,” agreed Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois. In the room, most of the delegates present stood up to applaud him when he arrived on stage — not all.

At her side, Christine Labrie did not hesitate to name the “collective failure” that integration had represented as spokesperson for Ms. Lessard-Therrien. “What happened requires us to deeply reflect on our ways of operating,” she said.

“Reflections, in particular, on our practices feminists — because Émilise is not the only woman within the organization to have pointed out that it is sometimes more difficult for women to take their place. Reflections, too, on our governance structures and the way we make our decisions,” she continued.

In a rare speech of this kind, one of the members of the ethics committee of Québec solidaire, Martin Roy, for his part called on his fellow activists to “free themselves from blame and the search for culprits”. “We are not a court,” he said.

“Referendum against immigration”

Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois pleads for an update of the QS guidelines, put into play just a few days after the departure of Ms. Lessard-Therrien. His “pragmatic” turn is all the more important as current political alternatives are leading Quebec into a wall, he thundered on Saturday.

In its speech to activists, “GND” notably targeted the Parti Québécois, leader in the polls. “Right next to me [at the Blue Room], it’s usually Paul St-Pierre Plamondon who gets up and asks the Prime Minister his question,” he said. “Then I'll tell you what I noticed: sometimes they argue, they persist, but when you listen attentively to the exchanges, you realize that more often than not, they are in agreement. . »

« Housing, schools, French, public services… no matter the problem, for these two, it's always the fault of the immigration”, he lamented.

According to Mr. Nadeau-Dubois, the sovereignist project of “PSPP” is flawed. “We cannot let Paul St-Pierre Plamondon transform this beautiful and great project that is the independence of Quebec into a referendum against immigration,” he thundered, before being applauded wildly by the room.

A few moments earlier, he had underlined the “urgency to act” for Québec solidaire, in a context where, under the government of the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ), Quebecers “are forced to take out their credit cards to have care” and accumulate by the thousands in food banks. In the following moments, he attacked the “good old Liberal Party”, which “dreams of the return of budgetary austerity measures” in Quebec.

Several votes are planned at the QS national council this weekend. The Saguenay Declaration, which was written after the party's tour of the regions, and a proposal to overhaul the program will be put to the vote.

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