“Gabriel, he's calmed down” | Elections Quebec 2022
Story of a brief foray into the caravan of Québec solidaire.
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Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois during his visit to Gatineau on September 6 (archives)
In a trendy restaurant in Chibougamau, which recently opened its doors, a little girl is seated at the counter.
Why are we applauding? she asks. Because Gabriel is coming and we're happy to see him!
It is that the co-spokesperson of Québec solidaire has just entered the establishment, in the company of the candidate in Ungava, Maïtée Labrecque-Saganash. On site, about thirty activists, visibly enthusiastic.
Among the crowd, early admirers, like Steve and Sarah, but also curious people, who came to listen .
Maïtée Labrecque Saganash is a candidate for Québec solidaire in the riding of 'Ungava.
You have to think of others, not just of yourself and your pockets, explains Sarah. The other parties promise tax cuts, but then they will cut services.
You have to be less individualistic, have more empathy, adds her spouse.
If they believe that François Legault did the best he could during the pandemic, they find that the outgoing Prime Minister takes up a little too much space, that he has too much arrogance.
The couple recall demonstrating against tuition hikes in 2012, when GND first came to prominence.
“Gabriel, he has mellowed, but he has remained true to his ideals.
— Sarah, a voter in the riding of Ungava
This is also the opinion of Guy, who came to meet the head of Québec solidaire. If he has not yet made a final choice, he is not insensitive to the speech he hears.
It's a a breath of fresh air that it brings, far removed from political calculations. He has matured a lot, says the man who has lived in Chibougamau for seven years now.
Wherever we go with the co-spokesperson for Québec solidaire , the sighting comes up often. It must be said that he and his team are working hard to reinforce this new image of maturity.
Graying hair and beard despite his 32 years, measured and asked answers to questions from journalists, the former student leader does not hesitate to refer to his status as a family man, or a concerned middle-class guy by inflation and rising interest rates, when addressing voters.
Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois is campaigning with his daughter and his spouse.
In front of the media, he even affirms, with a smirk, that he is more conservative than one can imagine.
Québec solidaire, it's the ardor of youth and the wisdom of experience, he explained to a voter passing through the Grand Marché de Québec.
Surrounded by a team of very active volunteers, who distribute leaflets and collect the contact details of supporters, the co-spokesperson for Québec solidaire strolled last Saturday between the aisles of the market and the outdoor kiosks.
Contact with citizens is easy. Within an hour, he gets a hug from an 86-year-old fan, rides a fat-tire bike for a photo, then agrees to play a board game with two 17-year-old girls. years.
Between the vegetable stalls and the local products, most of the citizens who come to do their shopping that day seem to notice a change.
GND, it has a standing< /em> now, said Luke. He took stripes, that's for sure, adds a greengrocer.
If a young person did not change, it would be boring. He took a good direction, adds Jean-Philippe, a young father.
However, this transformation does not convince everyone.< /p>
“He looks older, he doesn't look like a kid anymore. He expresses himself well, but I want something realistic, not dreamy. »
— Nathalie, a voter
And if Roland and Denise recognize that Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois is very professional, they are worried about the tax increases proposed by his political formation, in particular the tax on inheritances and net assets over one million.
Worry also comes from within. During a rally held in Val-d'Or on Monday evening, an activist in charge of tallying opened up to her party's co-spokesperson. The fortunes proposals, she said, have many voters worried. What can you do? she asks her boss.
On the street, however, citizens crossed at random do not seem too aware of the proposal. I won't be able to vote anyway, I'm going to be hunting, a voter tells us.
If Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois has changed and matured, the proposals on taxes and duties remind us that Québec solidaire remains first and foremost a left-wing party, which makes the fight against inequalities a priority. However, some proposals have been toned down.
To the surprise of many observers, the political party has chosen to renounce, in a first term at least, to ensure free tuition for the university. In four years, you can't do everything. We must choose the priorities of a possible government of solidarity, explained its leader.
Back to the Grand Marché in Quebec. Denise, a longtime activist, agrees that Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois had to compromise to preserve the institution. But she wonders about this change, noting that there is now less of the wow effect.
I don't know if to stand out, we should not remain more radical . Éric Duhaime, he stands out more at the moment.
The elections will tell us if voters share this reservation or if they prefer the new maturity of the party and its leader.< source srcset="https://images.radio-canada.ca/q_auto,w_600/v1/ici-info/perso/elections-quebec-2022-banniere.jpg" media="(min-width: 1024px) and ( max-width: 1239px)"/>