Photo: Jacques Boissinot The Canadian Press On Friday, the leader of the Conservative Party of Quebec, Éric Duhaime, lowered expectations in anticipation of the vote: “I expect a decent score.”
The leader of the Conservative Party of Quebec, Éric Duhaime, had to be content on Sunday with a vote of confidence of 77.48% during a national congress where the persistence of a certain discontent was confirmed.
Éric Duhaime and his entourage expected it. On Friday, the leader of the PCQ had lowered expectations in anticipation of the vote. “I expect a decent score,” he declared, emphasizing that he would certainly not be entitled to support like that obtained by Paul St-Pierre Plamondon at the PQ congress (98.5%).< /p>
Those around him, on Sunday, insisted that the discontent was nevertheless marginal. “We measured a higher level of confidence among members than among delegates present at the Congress. I deduce that a tiny minority wanted to send us a message,” said a person close to the leader.
But in front of his supporters, Éric Duhaime said that he took these results on the positive side. “The fact that you are stirring up your boss, a bit of protest. I don’t see it as a negative thing,” he said. “After all, we conservatives, me first and foremost, are rebels. »
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A year after the heartbreaking results of the 2022 election, this was the first vote of confidence for Mr. Duhaime. It was also an opportunity to measure the extent to which supporters and defeated candidates attributed responsibility for the failure to elect deputies.
From the start of the congress on Saturday, the Tensions between some delegates and the national executive were palpable. During the presentation of the method of operation of the elections, several delegates went to the microphone angry and suspicious, to denounce the vagueness of the directives.
40,000 members lost< /h2>
Jonathan Poulin, candidate defeated by 426 votes in Beauce-Sud, was among the most vocal of the discontented. “We were given general directions, written things in a notebook and told different things into a microphone. I want to know what the rule is. That's all. Would you like an example of bad organization? You have one. »
The election to the presidency of the party also betrayed the frustrations of members who felt they were not sufficiently heard by the national executive and the leader's entourage. Candidate Chantale Dauphinais also stressed that the PCQ had lost 40,000 members since the election and that it was necessary to find a way to “recover” them.
A sign of the strength of critical currents within the party, it was Ms. Dauphinais who won the election to the post of party president. Defeated candidate in the 2022 elections in Beauharnois, Ms. Dauphinais enjoyed the support of a large number of former candidates from the greater Quebec region (Bellechasse, Beauce-Sud, Lotbinière, Montmagny, etc.).
Chef Éric Duhaime, for his part, stayed away from all the debates with the exception of one. Saturday morning, he proposed that his name be removed from the official name of the party, emphasizing that this would be his position for the weekend. “Today, we must send the signal that the PCQ is not the party of Éric Duhaime, it is the party of its members, it is your party,” he said.< /p>
On Sunday this proposal was adopted with 97% of the votes. Concluding his speech, Mr. Duhaime also invited delegates not to let “those who want to divide [us]” win. “I have confidence in you, I hope you will maintain your confidence in me. »
In April 2021, Éric Duhaime was elected leader of the PCQ with 95% of the votes against the only other candidate Daniel Brisson. After his arrival, the party saw its membership increase exponentially, from 500 to 60,000 members.
With the Canadian Press