Anglo rights loom large as Liberals approve convention motion
Published Friday, November 24, 2017 8:38PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, November 25, 2017 7:22PM EST
Days after announcing the creation of a Secretariat for English-Speaking Quebecers, the Quebec Liberal Party made another move to embrace Anglophones at their weekend convention on Saturday.
The party voted to approve a motion to “give greater consideration to the reality of English-speaking citizens and enable them to participate fully in the advancement of Quebec society.”
The motion included several steps, including:
- Having the Quebec Institute of Statistics gather data to “establish a more accurate picture of the social and demographic characteristics of this population group and the challenges it faces, particularly in terms of access to public services and the labour market.”
- Ensuring government employees are aware of challenges facing English-speaking communities.
- Evaluating the impact of all new legislation and regulations on the English-speaking community.
- Developing a strategy to improve integration of Anglophones into the labour market.
On Friday, Couillard said above all, Liberals are a party "for all Quebecers, French and English-speaking Quebecers. And today as promised, Minister Kathleen Weil announced the Secretariat for English-speaking Quebecers. It's happening today. It's in the government. Your voice is in the government."
On Saturday, Weil said the Liberals are coming forward with resolutions specifically aimed at Anglophones as part of a message of inclusivity.
"They want to make sure there's a resounding message from the government... that says, 'You're a part of us, you're part of our history and you're part of our future,'" she said.
A Leger-Le Devoir poll released in October showed support for the Liberals at a historic low of 21 per cent among Francophones. Support among non-Francophones remained strong at 60 per cent.
The Liberal party has gathered in Quebec City for a three-day convention that celebrates the party's 150th anniversary.
The party members are discussing policies to set the groundwork for next year's election, and lest there be no doubt, Premier Philippe Couillard directly addressed the election in his opening speech.
"We have 312 days until the next election," said Couillard to party members.
He received a warm welcome from all, from women who wanted to dance with him to people dressed as 19th century Liberal Premier Henri-Gustave Joly de Lotbiniere and his wife.
1,400 delegates will spend Friday, Saturday, and Sunday debating proposals they hope will win them another election in 2018.
Included in that number is former Premier Jean Charest, who will deliver a speech. Charest has rarely spoken publically since leaving politics in 2012, following his defeat by the Parti Quebecois.
The Premier also treated Francois Legault and the Coalition Avenir Quebec as his main opponent, characterizing him as having no strong points of view.
"He juggles with his convictions. Sovereignist. Autonomist. Now federalist? Is there anyone here who believes that?" said Couillard.
The CAQ is also having a weekend convention.
Quebec's second opposition party is meeting in Sherbrooke to debate 38 propositions that will create their platform for 2018.
The CAQ will discuss food quality in long-term care facilities, start-up companies, and scholarships, among other issues.
- With files from The Canadian Press