Convergence is the buzzword as Quebec Solidaire begins its four-day congress Friday evening.
The left-wing sovereignist party is set to make some major decisions in the lead-up to next year's election, one of them being convergence.
What this means for the party is a strategic alliance with the Parti Quebecois, where parties could negotiate and avoid having their candidates run against each other in key, strategic ridings. Quebec Solidaire, then, wouldn't have competition from the PQ in certain ridings and vice-versa.
Convergence is is seen by some as a strategy that could help defeat the Liberals in the next election in 2018.
Not everyone in the party, however, is in favour of joining forces with the PQ, so the issue will be debated over the weekend.
Quebec Solidaire MNA Manon Massé said there have been strong arguments for and against convergence.
“Now what we have to do this weekend with our members is to see what Quebec needs to be, in 2018, outside of the neoliberal system,” she said.
Parti Quebecois leader Jean-Francois Lisée is confident the PQ will win the next provincial election, but believes the victory would be strengthened working with Quebec Solidaire.
"If we have Quebec Solidair with us, it's going to be even better. But even without them, I'm confident we're going to win," said Lisée.
As a token of good faith the PQ is not running a candidate in the Gouin riding by-election.
However 13 candidates are running to take the seat held by the retired QS spokesperson Francoise David, including Liberal youth wing leader Jonathan Marleau and well-known political activist Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, who is hoping to make a splash for Quebec Solidaire.
The party also has to choose new leaders, although Quebec Solidaire prefers the term spokespeople.
"We are a feminist party, and for us it's very important to have women at every level of our party," said Massé.
With one male and one female spokesperson, Massé is unchallenged, while Nadeau-Dubois has some competition for the male role.