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Support from the solidarity base for Nadeau-Dubois’ “pragmatic” shift

Photo: Jacques Boissinot La Presse canadienne Au début du mois, quelques jours après le départ à titre de co-porte-parole féminine d’Émilise Lessard-Therrien, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois avait livré un long plaidoyer devant la presse parlementaire afin que QS se modernise. On le voit ici en février.

Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois’ call for “pragmatism” does not only make Quebec Solidaire (QS) unhappy. In an open letter, 80 activists and former candidates from the left-wing political party support his modernization enterprise and in turn plead for building a “government party”.

The text, published Monday on the digital platforms of Devoir, bears the signature of several founding members of Québec solidaire, including Gaétan Châteauneuf, who co-organized the founding congress of QS, in 2006, and held the position of secretary general of the party from 2016 to 2020, or even Blanche Paradis, former head of the National Women's Commission.

Dozens of activists, including a series of ex-candidates and the former president of QS Nika Deslauriers, also put pen to paper, just a few days after another open letter, signed in particular by former MP Catherine Dorion, attacked the reform defended by Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois. Together, they refuse to be shaken by the debates that are currently driving the party.

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“We have seen certain questions come to light within our party, relating to how to achieve our social project. However, without denying the importance of this tension, we note that the seriousness of the situation has been somewhat exaggerated,” they write.

The open letter obtained by Le Devoir recalls that “these debates are not new” at Québec solidaire and precede the leadership of Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, who recently launched an appeal to members to of QS a “party of government”.

“There is no question of diluting what Québec solidaire is. It’s more about focusing on the essentials and emergencies; to channel our forces and energies into the construction of new social majorities in order to take power”, they write.

« Party of government »

At the beginning of the month, just a few days after the departure as female co-spokesperson of Émilise Lessard-Therrien, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois had delivered a long plea to the parliamentary press so that QS modernizes. Exhorting the activists of his political party to decide on their “future”, he hammered home the need for Québec solidaire to carry out “a complete overhaul of its program” to become “a government party”.

“This modernization is not the work of a single person,” remind the signatories of the open letter on Monday. “It is a process that is part of the democratic traditions of Québec solidaire, with decisions taken by the delegates of the constituency associations, mandates entrusted to various executive authorities with the accountability associated with them, and following broad consultations across the regions of Quebec. »

Gathered in a national council in Jonquière, solidarity activists will vote at the end of the month on the Saguenay Declaration. This document, which is the result of the party's tour of the regions, breaks with several historical positions of QS, on the forestry industry or agricultural unionism, for example, in order to “unite, not divide”.

The reform proposed by GND, which focuses on “a new, much shorter program, free from overly precise political commitments”, will also be put to a vote in the national council.

“This is what being a “party of government” requires, with our feet firmly planted in the mobilizations and concerns of the people and peoples of Quebec, so that our collective aspirations become reality,” write the signatories of the letter, according to which “forming the government in no way means renouncing the solidarity anchoring in social movements”.

“We bet that we will be able to avoid the false dilemma which consists of choosing between marginality on the one hand and the betrayal of our ideals and social-liberalism on the other”, they write.

Crisis at QS

Dissensions have shaken Québec solidaire since the surprise departure of the female co-spokesperson elected last fall, Émilise Lessard-Therrien. In her departure message, she deplored the influence of “a small team of professionals woven tightly around the male spokesperson.”

Last week, the letter open signed among others by former MP Catherine Dorion had sharply criticized the “fearful left” put forward by GND.

The forty signatories, including several current members of the party, accused him of avoiding answering questions about “the concentration of power in the hands of those close to him and the exodus of women linked to an unhealthy climate” and emphasized that “ the “pragmatic”, “effective” and calculating left, the one who treats others as dreamers and idealists – as if they were faults – is being overtaken at present.”

The publication of this letter also followed the publication by the QS National Women's Commission of a message in which the party leadership was accused of muzzling women.

Questioned about these outings this week, supportive deputies said they were hopeful of adopting the Saguenay Declaration, while Manon Massé called on disgruntled members to come and debate in Jonquière at the end May.

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