Jacques Boissinot The Canadian Press Candidates for the position of co-spokesperson for Québec solidaire Christine Labrie (left), Émilise Lessard -Therrien (center) and Ruba Ghazal (right) during the national debate in the race for the succession of Manon Massé, Sunday afternoon, in Trois-Rivières.
Aspiring solidarity co-spokesperson and Sherbrooke MP Christine Labrie criticized her own party on independence, saying it was using the constituent assembly — the first step the party wants to take to achieve independence — as an “escape” from having to decide on its vision of an independent Quebec.
“I find that we have an important work to do to say that it will form and take, the constituent assembly […]. At the moment, we have a nice escape, to talk about the constituent assembly, but that should not exempt us from doing our own thinking about knowing what we want in a sovereign Quebec,” she said in as part of the national debate on the race for the succession of Manon Massé, Sunday in Trois-Rivières.
She was closely followed by her opponent Ruba Ghazal on the subject. “If you become a spokesperson, will you talk about it in 2026 and will there be an issue on independence? » she asked him.
After avoiding answering the first time, Christine Labrie finally said “of course”.
The member for Sherbrooke is the candidate who puts the least emphasis on independence in this race. Questioned during the debate about their priority, Ruba Ghazal and her other opponent, Émilise Lessard-Therrien, both affirmed that the constituent assembly was one of them. However, it was not on Ms. Labrie’s list.
“The first bill is the constituent assembly, because it is a project that takes time,” said Ms. Ghazal at the end of the debate attended by around 200 solidarity activists.
Which electorates to court?
The three candidates wanting to succeed Manon Massé all agree that their party is stagnating in voting intentions. However, they differ on the electorate to target as a priority and the way to get out of this ceiling.
The MP for Mercier, Ruba Ghazal, wants to target three categories: “The suburbs, people of my generation: 34-55 year olds […] and people from immigrant backgrounds,” she listed.
Former member for Rouyn-Noranda–Témiscamingue Émilise Lessard-Therrien wants her party to be more present in the regions of Quebec to court these voters.
“If we want to establish our credibility as a political party that aspires to govern, we will have to […] seek out rural counties, in more remote regions,” she underlined.
Ms. Lessard-Therrien also thinks that her party can make gains among baby boomers, who are a generation with a “very progressive” heritage, according to her.
Christine Labrie, for her part, maintains that 'there are a lot of cynical people and she wants to convince them that QS is doing politics for them.
She maintains that her party must propose more concrete projects and have a more understandable speech to be heard by more voters.
“We translated our platform into several indigenous languages. It was a very good initiative, but half of the population is functionally illiterate and we have not made the effort until now to translate our social project for them,” she argued.
The Sherbrooke MP has four supporters within the solidarity caucus: Alexandre Leduc, Haroun Bouazzi, Étienne Grandmont and Guillaume Cliche-Rivard.
MPs Sol Zanetti and Andrés Fontecilla chose Ruba Ghazal as a candidate.
Émilise Lessard-Therrien, for her part, received the support of the elected representative of Rosemont, Vincent Marissal.
Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois and Manon Massé chose to remain neutral in the race, just like the deputy for Verdun and party whip, Alejandra Zaga Mendez.
The new solidarity co-spokesperson will be elected during the party congress, which will take place will take place from November 24 to 26.