Graham Hughes The Canadian Press Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets activists present at the convention of the Quebec wing of the Liberal Party of Canada in Trois-Rivières, Saturday.
On the second day of the congress of the Quebec wing of the Liberal Party of Canada (PLC) in Trois-Rivières, Justin Trudeau's Liberals placed the environment and diversity at the center of discussions with their activist base. Two issues which, according to them, are neglected by the Conservative Party of Pierre Poilievre.
“Let a conservative try to make us believe that climate change does not exist! » launched Minister Steven Guilbeault during a panel on climate change on Sunday morning.
In front of a crowd of around fifty barely awake activists, the Minister of the Environment warned that 75% of the 8 billion natural disaster response program funds have already been spent in the last five years.< /p>
“The reality is that we have entered the era of climate change. […] This is the first time in the country’s history that the Canadian armed forces are deployed in more than one province at the same time to deal with disasters. This summer they were in three provinces,” he said.
During the panel, Minister Steven Guilbeault also praised the many upcoming public transportation projects. “There are more than three hundred public transportation projects currently under construction in the country. We are talking about the REM in Montreal, the extension of the blue line. We will succeed in building the tramway in Quebec, no offense to Ms. [Geneviève] Guilbault,” he added.
The subject of this panel at the congress of the Quebec wing of the PLC does not seem to have been chosen at random. According to polling data commissioned on behalf of Global News and obtained by Le Devoir, Quebec voters are more concerned about the environment than the rest of the country.
According to the results of the June poll, a greater number of Quebecers — 21.5% — said that “the environment and climate change were the only issue [that] should receive the most attention from the Government of Canada.” Respondents in all other regions more often chose health care or cost of living as their first priority.
On Saturday evening, Transport Minister and Quebec Lieutenant Pablo Rodriguez accused the Conservatives of taking Canada backwards on climate change. “They don’t even know how to spell climate change. They have never talked about it and they will never talk about it,” he declared in front of hundreds of liberal activists.
At the Saskatchewan Party convention in Regina, which was held at the same time as the LPC convention, Pierre Poilievre congratulated Premier Scott Moe and his government for their fight against Ottawa's carbon pricing program and called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to abandon it.
The party of allies
At the close of the congress on Sunday, the last workshop focused on the promotion of diversity and inclusion in the country.
“I wouldn’t stay in any country other than Canada. It's good to live there. The government is trying to promote good ways of living, both for indigenous communities and other [citizens],” confided panelist Lise Kistabish, who ran as a candidate for the PLC in Abitibi-Baie-James-Nunavik- Eeyou during the last elections.
His remarks, which were warmly applauded in the room, are consistent with the ideals of the Quebec supporters met by Le Devoirover the weekend. What links them to the PLC in 2023? The values of diversity conveyed by the party.
Émilie Lebrun participated in her very first political congress this weekend. For the young woman who campaigns for the rights of psychiatric patients, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is definitely the leader who most cares about the cause of mental health and feminist values.
“I think he not only wears his heart on his sleeve, but he also has his heart on his head. This means that you make your decisions based on the values you hold in your heart. And that resonates with me,” she explains to Devoir Sunday at the end of the day.
For Joan David Gonzaly, another young liberal who came to Trois-Rivières to the event, it is above all the diversity within elected officials and liberal ministers which joins it. “It's good to have leaders who want to unite, who believe in diversity and who come from different backgrounds,” he says.
“The PLC, it is a party that brings together all nationalities. It’s easy to find your way around. It's a great source of pride [to be an activist],” added another participant, Anne Patricia Akesse.
At the end of the panel, Minister Marc Miller, who moderated the discussions, also reminded that liberal activists are sensitive to issues surrounding minorities, whether they are part of them or not. “These are issues that are important to them and issues that need to be campaigned on,” he concluded.