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QS needs “new blood,” says Émilise Lessard-Therrien

Photo: Adil Boukind Le Devoir In an interview with “Le Devoir”, Émilise Lessard-Therrien made it clear that her criticisms were in no way aimed at her former spokesperson colleague, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois.

Two months after her departure, Émilise Lessard-Therrien pleads to “bring new blood” into the upper echelons of Québec solidaire (QS), in order to distance the party from political strategies which, in past, have “not borne fruit”.

For the first time since she slammed the door of the left party, at the end of the month of April, the former solidarity spokesperson spoke to the media on Wednesday to discuss the reasons for her defection.

In an interview with Le Devoir, she wanted to clarify that her criticisms were in no way aimed at her ex-colleague spokesperson, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, with whom she is disappointed to have had a “lack of complicity”, but with whom she does not maintain “no hostility.” “It goes beyond Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois,” she said on the other end of the phone on Wednesday.

In announcing her departure on April 29, the former member for Rouyn-Noranda–Témiscamingue deplored her inability to “plunge her roots into the leadership of the party.” In a long message, she said in particular that she came up against “a small team […] tightly woven” around “GND”.

Two months later, she clarifies her thoughts: the avenues taken in recent years in the highest levels of political formation are simply ineffective, she notes.

“The first thing that is necessary is to take stock of what has been done since the role reversal between Manon [Massé] and Gabriel. Did the strategies that were put in place take us where we wanted to go ? I think the answer, obviously, is no,” she says. “The lack of results is a bit of the elephant in the room. »

In the 2022 elections, with Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois as candidate for prime minister, QS lost 15,000 votes compared to the previous election. Since then, in polls, the party has obtained between 12% and 19% of voting intentions. The most recent survey from the Léger firm gave him 14%.

Without calling for the departure of GND, Ms. Lessard-Therrien invites the party to “bring fresh air” into its leadership team. “Since Manon took a step back, it’s normal that everything has been orchestrated a bit around male leadership. So there, we need to bring in new blood, that's for sure,” she said.

The former solidarity spokesperson did not specify this which she meant by “new blood.” However, she recalled that the race for the election of her successor would conclude in November. Subsequently, solidarity activists will have to choose their candidate for the post of prime minister, who will also have the opportunity to participate in the leaders' debates.

« The decision of the aspiring prime minister, it is a decision of the members. But there has to be change. There has to be change if we want to aspire to have different results,” she insists.

“Pragmatic », the Saguenay Declaration ?

In the midst of a crisis at the beginning of May after the departure of his co-spokesperson, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois pleaded with journalists for his party to “modernize” by adopting a more “pragmatic” posture. This operation, he said, would involve the adoption, in Jonquière, of the Saguenay Declaration and the overhaul of the QS program.

In the national council, at the end of May, party members indeed gave their approval to the Saguenay Declaration, in addition to opting for an “update” of the program. But Émilise Lessard-Therrien refuses to see this as support for the “pragmatism” of GND.

“These were projects which were already underway, which had already been initiated , says the 32-year-old ex-politician. I think there may have been a little distortion of what it was originally intended to be to serve the needs of the moment. »

“I’m not sure that’s the definition of pragmatism, either. »

A future in politics ?

As for her, Émilise Lessard-Therrien has been enjoying “[his] land” for the past few weeks. “I started my flour mill again! » she quips, when asked about her professional future.

The former solidarity spokesperson still has her membership card, but will follow QS’s activities “from afar,” she says. When Le Devoir asks her if she is giving up on active politics, she says yes… but only for 2026. “Let’s say that I am not looking for 'opportunities in partisan politics,' she says.

Five months before the choice of a new spokesperson, Ms. Lessard-Therrien is delighted that the deputy Ruba Ghazal, whom she had beaten by three small votes at the November 2023 election congress, is entering the race again . “I think she has undeniable qualities,” she emphasizes. I am very happy to see that she still has the appetite, that she still has this enthusiasm to try to do better with the party. »

For the rest, she leaves QS to her internal debates. “I don’t want to play mother-in-law,” she said.

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