Website of the Liberal Party of Quebec Members of the Committee on the relaunch of the PLQ
The Committee on the Relaunch of the Liberal Party of Quebec is working on a proposal for a Quebec Constitution, because it sees in this “inclusive” project a way for the Liberals to assert their nationalism, Le Devoir has learned.
According to our information, the constitutional offensive is one of the elements that will be proposed in the committee's report, which must be unveiled to the PLQ general council on October 14 and 15 in Drummondville. Launched in March, this reflection and consultation group was led by former journalist André Pratte and MP Madwa-Nika Cadet.
The place that nationalism must take in the PLQ, which only garners 5% of support among French speakers, has fueled discussions among activists and elected officials since the electoral defeat of 2018. With a proposed Constitution of Quebec, the members of the Committee on recovery hope to redefine nationalism, in particular because the Coalition Avenir Québec has wrongly appropriated this theme, in their opinion.
“Not being CAQ doesn’t mean not being nationalist,” summarizes a liberal. The question for his party is not whether it should “be more or less nationalist”, but rather to define what that means, he adds.
In interview , professor and former liberal minister Benoît Pelletier claims to have been invited in June by the Pratte-Cadet committee to discuss, among other things, the question of a Constitution of Quebec. Mr. Pelletier specifies that he has not had contact with the committee since. But “I would not be surprised if the PLQ adopted this idea or put forward this idea,” he says to Devoir. The party will, however, have to move away from “strictly electoral” considerations, he warns.
“The idea is not to say: “we have to win back the hearts of Quebecers” . The party really needs to have a heart that beats at the same rhythm as that of Quebecers. So, there is a determination, a desire to see Quebec as a society which has its deep identity and which wants to reaffirm it,” he affirms.
English speakers too
Benoît Pelletier underlines that questions of territorial integrity, such as the right of Quebecers to choose their future, make some liberals “uncomfortable”.
There is “pedagogical work” to be done , also agrees a liberal source. Above all, there is no question of leaving Anglophones and Indigenous people aside, argued various people who spoke with Le Devoir.
In its proposal, the committee would like to recognize in a fundamental law the existence of Quebec as a nation within the Canadian federation and the status of French as an official and common language. But he also proposes recognizing the rights of indigenous communities and the English-speaking community, such as that of control of its institutions. The proposal is therefore one of “inclusive nationalism”, summarizes a source.
Benoît Pelletier sees this project as “a great opportunity” to redefine Quebec’s relationship with Indigenous people and Anglophones. The latter were cooled by the work of Dominique Anglade's PLQ on Bill 96, which modified the Charter of the French language, liberals pointed out. The attempt to retreat towards marginalized communities has also fueled the debates within the Recovery Committee. The need for the party to make a mea culpa would have irritated certain former elected officials, who wish to look more towards the future.
And the leadership race?< /h2>
Another source of tension: the calendar for the party leadership race should be revealed in Drummondville, as well as the conditions of admission to the race. The spending limit, set at $500,000 in 2020, would be lowered. The number of member signatures to be collected would be greater than the 1,000 necessary three years ago.
For the race, two scenarios would have been studied: one from the fall of 2024 and the other later, in the spring of 2025. The first scenario, favored by activists, was rejected by members of the PLQ caucus and former elected officials. “The position will be more interesting in a year,” argued a source. The aftermath of Philippe Couillard, which led to the coronation of Dominique Anglade, is seen as a counter-example.
The Liberals are also, from now on, careful not to launch the names of potential candidates in the public space hoping to attract them. “Every time, they say they don’t want to go,” laments a source.