Dominique Anglade launches Liberal leadership bid with message of inclusion
MONTREAL -- MNA Dominique Anglade has kicked off her campaign to become the next leader of Quebec's Liberal Party with a message of building a more inclusive and diverse province.
Anglade laid out her ambitions to head up the opposition party at a news conference in her Montreal riding of Saint-Henri - Sainte-Anne Friday morning, with a campaign slogan of 'Building Tomorrow.'
Flanked by Liberal MNAs Carlos Leitao, Helene David, David Birnbaum, Kathleen Weil, Christine St-Pierre, and Greg Kelley, Anglade spoke of building a "strong and inclusive" identity for Quebec.
"I refuse to stay on the sidelines with my arms crossed when I see the seeds of division taking root in Quebec, the home that I love. Therefore I want to take the challenge of becoming your next leader of the Liberal Party," she said. "Quebecers of all stripes need to join together, and this is why my campaign team is building tomorrow."
When asked about the province's controversial secularism law Bill 21, Anglade said she would make changes.
"We're all in favour of laicity but not the way it was done with Bill 21. So one thing – the Liberal Party, under my leadership would not go forward with a notwithstanding clause," she said.
Bill 21 invokes the notwithstanding clause of the Canadian Constitution, which shields legislation from most challenges under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
"Frankly speaking, building Quebec tomorrow goes way beyond that bill that was passed. It's about how do we behave, how do we promote who we are in an inclusive way… Quebec is way greater than that."
If she wins, Anglade would be the first woman and first person of colour elected to lead the party.
Anglade said she hoped her message would reach beyond Montreal and into the CAQ-strong regions of Quebec.
"Whether you're born in Drummondville, whether you're born in Quebec City, whether you're born in Gaspesie – we're all Quebecers," she said. "I think what really matters is we listen to what every region has to say, we stay extremely well connected and beyond listening… taking actions and bringing forward proposals in line with what we see on the ground."
Anglade spent the last six months travelling through the regions, speaking with activists and learning about the issues they face. If elected, she said she plans to build a Charter of Regions.
"I think we have to stop that divide, and we have to build together, and I think we're capable of doing that," she said.
Elected in a 2015 by-election, Anglade served as minister of economic development and innovation and deputy premier of Quebec under Philippe Couillard.
So far, Anglade is the only Liberal to launch a leadership campaign, but she is expected to face competition: Alexandre Cusson, Drummondville's mayor and the former president of the Union of Quebec Municipalities, intends to kick off his leadership campaign on Saturday.
The Liberal leadership contest officially begins at the end of November at the party's annual general council meeting.