< /p> Photo: Jacques Boissinot The Canadian Press Activists and MPs still cannot explain why Liberal MP Frédéric Beauchemin, targeted by a complaint of psychological harassment (which he refutes), imposed his presence on the general council of left for Drummondville on October 14 and 15.
All the ingredients were there for a home run for the Liberal Party of Quebec (PLQ). After the statement of his proposal for “bold, inclusive and unifying nationalism”, last week, the news offered two subjects – the budget of year one of the Parti Québécois and the increase in tuition fees for students of the rest of Canada — which would have allowed him to bring back the divide between federalists and separatists, which has so often served the PLQ.
Except that there was an initial unease. His name is Frédéric Beauchemin.
Activists and MPs still cannot explain why the MP for Marguerite-Bourgeoys, targeted by a complaint of psychological harassment (which he refutes), imposed his presence at the party's general council in Drummondville on October 14 and 15. last. At the hotel where the gathering was located, there was also Élyse Moisan, president of the PLQ Youth Commission and plaintiff in this case.
The young woman was greeted by members of the caucus with hugs. “I gave him a little support, a pat on the back. It’s very difficult for it to be public,” summarizes one of these people.
“It lacked delicacy,” said a member of the Liberal caucus. “I strongly suggested to him not to run,” adds a party leader.
Mr. Beauchemin assures that he especially did not want to “make a statement“. He even says he was surprised by the journalists' questions about the ten or so young people who followed him on his travels. “I was as low profile as possible,” he maintains. Above all, the elected official affirms that he wanted to be present for what he considers “the beginning of the real revival of the PLQ”, a project that is close to his heart.
“Not a Star”
In private, all liberals emphasize the qualities of their colleague. He knows his files and “did not try to get into those of others,” illustrates a member of the official opposition. He's “a good guy,” says a source, “but he's not even a star in the caucus.”
An elected official and a member of the party also judge the MP to be clumsy in his actions. aimed at obtaining support in the leadership race. MPs still hope that Marwah Rizqy will be in the competition, an option that she rejects. By supporting it, they would have justification for not supporting Mr. Beauchemin's candidacy.
Within the party, others are angry with the MP because he declined the PLQ offer which would have made him the candidate in Brome-Missisquoi in 2018, but then agreed to wear the Party's colors Liberal Party of Canada in Terrebonne in 2019.
Over the weekend, Marc Tanguay declared that Mr. Beauchemin had been excluded from the caucus for “the entire work”, i.e. the entire of his actions following the disclosure of the complaint for psychological harassment by Le Journal de Québec, on October 5.
In public, the interim chief said he was disturbed by a tweet from Mr. Beauchemin which did not respect the confidentiality of the complaints handling process. Privately, Liberals say that Mr. Tanguay and members of his caucus misdigested Mr. Beauchemin's comment on the “lack of clear direction” in the PLQ. “They don’t see the connection between the authorities and the filing of a complaint,” summarizes one person.
Cleft with activists
Frédéric Beauchemin's entourage, for their part, believes that they have paid the price, in Drummondville, for a “floor strategy”: an order from the party's senior authorities ensuring that supporters of holding a race in 2025 are more people speaking at the microphone. The craze for an early race in 2024 is not the only fact of Mr. Beauchemin's supporters, underlined several liberals who spoke with Le Devoir. The corridor discussions at the general council were proof of this.
Here, a second uneasiness appeared. That of the disconnect between the liberal establishment — including the interim leader — and the activists.
In his letter of resignation from the presidency of the Laval regional council, Denis Piché, who has been involved in the PLQ for 40 years, wrote it in full: “80 to 90%” of liberal activists wanted a race in 2024. Chief Tanguay maintains the opposite. “The majority are telling us: this is the right time, 2025,” he said in the National Assembly on Tuesday.
His words go unanswered by activists. They note that the party coffers are empty and party membership is in free fall. “Without a leader, why would people give us money? » asks a long-time activist. “You can’t build a party without a leader, without funding, without members,” says another. He said he was shocked to see that the party “doesn’t achieve that.”
Above all, liberals are starting to harshly judge the work of Marc Tanguay. “I understand the idea of respect for Anglophones, but they are the best protected minority in Canada,” says a source. The outings of activist Antoine Dionne Charest, stung by the revision of university equalization which will harm English-speaking establishments, are considered exaggerated. Suggesting that Anglophones “go on the offensive” is this the new nationalism of the PLQ? In the opinion of Marc Tanguay, renewed liberal nationalism was rather reflected this week in a proposal from his party which aims to “Frenchize new arrivals.”
The interim leader also recalled — as it regularly does — that Robert Bourrassa's PLQ made French the official language of Quebec in 1974. The budget for year one that the Parti Québécois must unveil on Monday? “It’s disconnected,” he responded Thursday. He will read it mainly to be able to answer questions from journalists on this subject, he added. Among activists, his response was seen as a missed opportunity to promote the PLQ project, which nevertheless likes to point out that it is “the only federalist party” in the National Assembly.