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QS adopts the Saguenay Declaration and chooses to review its program

Photo: Jacques Boissinot The Canadian Press The spokespersons for Québec solidaire, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois and Christine Labrie, Saturday, during the opening of the national training council, in Jonquière

Francois Carabin in Saguenay

Published at 11:40 a.m. Updated at 6:23 p.m.

  • Quebec

Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois emerges unscathed from a first activist rally since the departure of solidarity co-spokesperson Émilise Lessard-Therrien. The implementation of the “Saguenay Declaration” and the process of overhauling the political program of Québec solidaire (QS), so desired by the elected official from Gouin, will move forward.

After long procedural debates and lively exchanges on the party's position with regard to the union monopoly of the Union of Agricultural Producers (UPA), the activists of the political party gathered in a national council in Jonquière first adopted the Saguenay Declaration on Sunday.

Developed after a long tour of the regions carried out by deputies and members, the Declaration was put to the vote this weekend. The document, which contrasts with the historical positions of the left party, is the first of “three projects” named by Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois to bring about a “pragmatic” shift at QS.

< p>Despite very vocal opposition in the room, members also chose on Sunday to “update” the party’s program so that it becomes “free of overly specific political commitments.” Several delegates tried to postpone the process, just to “take time”, but without success.

After a period of consultations and an “exercise of brevity”, the members of QS will therefore decide in October 2025 on the content of an “updated” program.

Union monopoly of the UPA

On the first day of their national council, Saturday, party activists adopted large sections of the Saguenay Declaration, not without difficulty, before postponing part of the vote until Sunday due to lack of time. A crucial vote almost derailed everything, before the activists who demanded it chose to rally.

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Almost two years after the “orange taxes” saga, the Saguenay Declaration proposed to make a significant shift in agriculture by abandoning a historic position which aimed to break the union monopoly of the Union of Agricultural Producers (UPA). This idea did not go down like butter in the pan on Sunday.

After discussing for many minutes, the delegates finally erased the initial proposal, which provided for “give up on reforming agricultural unionism”, to adopt a middle position: Québec solidaire will recognize “the role of [the UPA] in the protection of producers of different scales and [will maintain] that a variety of voices are involved express”.

QS has proposed since the 2012 elections to promote the establishment of a pluralist union system in the agricultural sector. If it had been adopted as is, the Saguenay Declaration would have had the effect of erasing the UPA's monopoly in this area.

In a context of “crisis in agriculture”, it was essential to recognize the authority of the union in the sector, argued MP Alejandra Zaga Mendez on Sunday, before voting on these proposals.

“At the moment, we have a social movement that is underway, it is that of agriculture,” she said. “These people are united in a common front: it’s called the UPA. And more than ever, we must recognize [it]. »

“For us it takes a strong voice,” added another activist, a former farm owner, on the floor of the national council.

Other delegates, for their part, denounced the UPA's “approaches of bully” or called on members to don't “apologize for orange taxes.”

Following the departure as spokesperson of Émilise Lessard-Therrien, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois called on members to be “pragmatist” at the beginning of the month. During a long press scrum in parliament, he pleaded for making QS a “government party” by starting three “projects”: the adoption of the Saguenay Declaration, the overhaul of the program and the reform of the statutes and regulations.

In his closing speech on Sunday, Mr. Nadeau-Dubois was delighted that the members had found “a way through”. “After 18 years, we had to step out of our comfort zone. At the end of the week, we debated vigorously, it’s true, but with wisdom. I think we lived up to the great and beautiful democratic tradition of Québec solidaire,” he said.

At her side, interim co-spokeswoman Christine Labrie said she wanted to “continue Émilise’s work.” “I found it important […] that we get closer to the experiences of Quebecers who live outside major centers,” she said.

The next Quebec Solidaire activist rally will take place next November. It is during this congress that the reform of the statutes and regulations will take place. Ms. Lessard-Therrien's permanent successor will also be chosen that weekend.

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