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QS could hold “leadership races”

Photo: Valérian Mazataud archives Le Devoir Gabriel Nadeau Dubois, co-porte-parole solidaire, durant son discours de clôture de la soirée électorale de QS en 2022, au MTelus, à Montréal.

In the midst of revising its statutes, Québec solidaire (QS) is considering making one of its co-spokespersons a “leader within the meaning of the electoral law”, which would allow it to raise funds in possible races for management, learned Le Devoir.

In a survey sent to members at the end of 2023, the left party recalls that Élections Québec “does not allow fundraising” in the context of races for co-spokesperson, such as this which led to the election of Émilise Lessard-Therrien last year.

“While all the other parties benefit from a substantial influx of money during these races, for Québec solidaire, they are synonymous with a significant expense. The lack of capacity to raise funding also creates disparities between applications (based on their income or their distance from the rest of Quebec),” we can read in the internal document, obtained by Le Devoir.

The Election Act requires political parties recognized by Élections Québec to have a “leader”. For most training this goes without saying; the Coalition Avenir Québec has François Legault, the Parti Québécois has Paul St-Pierre Plamondon. However, since its creation 18 years ago, Québec solidaire has had two spokespersons. It is therefore the general secretary of the party who has traditionally held the position of leader in the eyes of the Law.

In its survey, conducted as part of the review of its statutes and closed in December, QS evokes a paradigm shift. “Should we design a mechanism for electing spokespersons which would allow Québec solidaire to have access to funding for leadership races, even if this meant that one of the two spokespersons would be recognized as leader in the sense of the electoral law ?” we ask the members.

Just a consultation

This idea is not a formal proposal, argues the QS communications team. However, it could become so when the party decides on an in-depth revision of its statutes in the fall.

“We have, in the past, made representations to the DGEQ [director general of elections of Quebec] in order to explore the possibility that our races for spokesperson could be governed by the same rules as “traditional” leadership races. ”. Unfortunately, the DGEQ did not accept,” press secretary Charles Castonguay explained by email. “Our statutes therefore do not currently allow candidates for spokesperson positions to fund their races, as is the case for other parties. »

Among the answers proposed in the survey, members could choose to oppose this idea because there is “too great a risk of centralization of powers” or because “the races for spokespersons should remain modest to avoid stardom.”

On paper, QS evokes a scenario where the two spokespersons would retain their title and their functions. The National Coordinating Committee (NCC) would continue to make decisions associated with party leadership — national directions and candidate approval, for example. Currently, both the spokespersons and the general secretary of QS are part of the CCN.

Former PQ leader Jean-François Lisée made headlines after asking during an electoral debate in 2018 the solidarity co-spokesperson at the time, Manon Massé, who was the “real leader” of the political training. “Who pulls the strings at Québec solidaire ?” he said from the TVA studios. “We have two co-spokespersons, you know that very well,” replied Ms. Massé.

Chief without being boss

Member of Québec solidaire, Jimmy Thibodeau welcomes the idea of ​​making one of the solidarity spokespersons a “leader”. “That doesn’t stop us from treating spokespeople as spokespeople. Even if we give the leadership hat to one of the two, it will not necessarily affect their functions,” he said in an interview with Le Devoir, Monday.

Mr. Thibodeau, who is a member of the Option nationale collective of QS, discusses the “financial benefits” of such a decision. “If we want to be closer to power than that, at a given moment, at Québec solidaire, we will have to be more pragmatic at this level,” he indicated, while agreeing that “there are an ambient discourse at Québec solidaire [where] we are always afraid of putting forward one spokesperson more than the other.”

Québec solidaire is currently carrying out a major review of its internal statutes. It is in this context that he will determine whether he wishes to adopt stricter rules to ensure parity in his caucus. Meanwhile, the party adopted a proposal in November that will require it to present a woman or a non-binary person in possible by-elections.

In its survey of members, the left-wing party also asked whether the regional associations and the CCN could “determine the gender of electoral candidacies”. “Several members consider that in view of recent events, [our] measures do not seem to allow us to achieve our objectives,” underlines the party.

The delegates of Québec solidaire will adopt their new statutes at an extraordinary congress next fall.

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