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No question of doing 25 more years for the New Democracy Movement

Photo: Jacques Nadeau archives Le Devoir The president of the New Democracy Movement, Jean-Pierre Charbonneau

Born 25 years ago this year, the New Democracy Movement (MDN) wants at all costs to avoid blowing out 25 more candles. The organization, which campaigns for a reform of the voting method, remains hopeful that its objective will be achieved by then.

The MDN had gathered around a hundred people at the Palais Montcalm in Quebec, Wednesday evening, to celebrate its quarter century. For its president, Jean-Pierre Charbonneau, the opportunity was good to recall the transgression, by François Legault's government, of a transpartisan agreement for democratic reform that the CAQ leader himself had signed, almost six years ago. years to the day.

“We must remember that moment, that signature where […] in particular a person, who has since become Prime Minister of Quebec, had promised that she would do better than everyone else. That she would be better than René Lévesque, that she would be better than Justin Trudeau, that she would be better than Jean Charest, that she would be better than Bernard Landry…” listed the former President of the National Assembly from the stage of a small room draped in brown curtains and regularly disturbed by unwanted telephone ringing. Outside, dozens of elementary school-age kids buzzed the halls preparing to put on a performance by the Dashing Cowboys in the school's main performance hall. of the upper town of Quebec.

Created with the objective of promoting the project of reform of the voting system to the public, the MDN is still far from being ready. In 2021, the first CAQ government, which had until then committed to revising the democratic processes in Quebec, officially scrapped its promise of reform – because “it does not interest the population, apart from a few intellectuals”, François Legault would say a few months later.

Result of the races: the population, who were to express themselves on this subject during a referendum in 2022, never could do it. “We are here, unfortunately, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the DND. We wish we didn’t have to; that would mean that we would have already changed things,” raised trade unionist Éric Gingras, president of the Centrale des syndicats du Québec (CSQ), a historic ally of the MDN on Wednesday.

< h2 class="h2-intertitle">DND “won’t break”

Far from being discouraged, Jean-Pierre Charbonneau sets the goal that the 50th anniversary of the MDN never has to be celebrated. “The sooner [the reform] is done, the better it will be,” he said in an interview with Le Devoir, Wednesday, a few minutes after Inside the small premises rented by the MDN, an organizer called for donations, just to fill a little the box placed near the entrance and containing a $20 note and another $5.

Thanks to “activism” and volunteerism, the MDN continues to do its work a quarter of a century later, its president rejoices. The support of the Parti Québécois (PQ) and Québec solidaire (QS) is still acquired, in addition to the very new support of the Conservative Party of Quebec. “When the ruling party agreed, we had subsidies. There, we no longer have any,” Mr. Charbonneau agreed on Wednesday. “But those who think we’re going to break, they’re wrong. »

If we fall into cynicism, if we fall into discouragement, if we think that every politician or every party leader is going to repeat the same scenario to us, we might as well abandon our convictions

— Jean-Pierre Charbonneau

QS was represented on Wednesday by MP Sol Zanetti, galvanized by the unanimous adoption, earlier in the day, of a motion in honor of the MDN. The PQ was supported by an unelected spokesperson, Gabriel Coulombe, who replaced MP Pascal Bérubé, who was bothered by a health issue.

Despite its advantageous position in the polls, the PQ will not abandon its promise like the Coalition Avenir Québec, insisted Mr. Coulombe. “I see this reform a little bit like the independence of Quebec: I am convinced that Mr. Charbonneau will see that in his lifetime,” he said.

Jean-Pierre Charbonneau does not want to “be naive”, but allows himself to believe it. “If we fall into cynicism, if we fall into discouragement, if we think that every politician or every party leader is going to repeat the same scenario to us, we might as well abandon our convictions. »

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