Photo: Jacques Boissinot The Canadian Press The time has come to leave for “those who would like us to only talk about the pandemic,” warned conservative leader Éric Duhaime, seen here in November at the PCQ congress.
Isabelle Porter in Quebec
January 18, 2024
Against a backdrop of tensions linked, in particular, to the apparent admiration of one of his collaborators for Jean Charest, the leader of the Conservative Party of Quebec (PCQ), Éric Duhaime, orders some of his activists to leave the party.
In a text message sent to: Devoir, Mr. Duhaime writes that “it is the right time to leave” for “those who do not accept the democratic decisions of the last congress” and “those who would like us to only talk about a pandemic”.
Same thing for those who criticize him for “talking to traditional media” and “who refuse to work as a team”.
Earlier this week, three very active party activists slammed the party's door with a bang. Marylaine Bélair (regional vice-president of Montérégie and Estrie) and Philippe Meloni (president of the Bertrand constituency) were party candidates in the last elections. Bernard Massie was president of the Richmond riding.
In an open letter posted on social networks, they plead that the executive has “no respect” towards its members and that “diversity of opinion” within the party is “repressed” .
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“Beyond fine words, the PCQ plays politics in the same way that it denounces in the other parties,” they write.
In the process, they also criticize the party's executive director, Eric Tétrault, a former Liberal who joined the ranks of the party in May. “As much as the arrival of Chantal Dauphinais, elected president of the party by the members, reassured us, so did the appointment of Eric Tétrault by Éric Duhaime as executive director, who claims his admiration for Jean Charest and whose influence over the party is getting stronger and stronger, taking away all hope of change. »
The executive director is criticized for talking too much about Jean Charest
Chantal Dauphinais was elected president of the party during the last congress with a speech focused on decentralization and listening to members.
However, the signatories argue that it has enjoyed little influence since then. Joined by Le Devoir, Marylaine Bélair argues that the new president is constantly being put “in the way”. “She’s doing what she needs to do, we’re just not giving her the tools to,” she added.
“The best way to get rid of someone in a party is to make him or her work in a vacuum,” added Mr. Meloni.
As for Mr. Tétrault, he has become a symbol of what bothers them about betting, he says. “His values are not mine. Someone who, three times per meeting, repeats that his model in politics is Jean Charest… I was in politics so that there would be no more Jean Charest. »
Le Devoir asked the PCQ to react to the comments targeting Mr. Tétrault, but the party spokesperson, Cédric Lapointe, is bound by the statement of Mr. Duhaime cited above.
Philippe Meloni, who was a candidate in Bertrand in 2022, also criticizes the leaders of the PCQ for not addressing certain subjects that interest the members of his constituency.
This is the case of the draft international agreement of the World Health Organization (WHO) on the prevention of future pandemics.
“There are people in my constituency who are very concerned that the WHO pandemic treaty will be signed in May. Every time the federal government even remotely touches on a health issue, everyone throws up their hands. And there, the country will sign a document which will remove a large part of the prerogatives of Quebec health,” explained Mr. Meloni to Devoir.
Ms. Bélair also gave this example when she was questioned on subjects neglected by the party executive. She also referenced a proposal she had received on integrative health.
Mr. Meloni would also have liked the PCQ to give more importance to the National Citizens' Commission of Inquiry into the management of the pandemic, whose work ended this fall. The third signatory of the open letter made public this week, Bernard Massie, was also one of the commissioners of this event. “I would have liked the boss to talk about it because it was a lot of work. There was a report of more than 650 pages that was produced,” said Mr. Meloni about this pan-Canadian event organized by former Prime Minister Preston Manning, which included the controversial Didier Raoult as an expert witness. .