MONTREAL -- The Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) says it's not committing to the return of large scale, televised celebrations for Quebec's Fête nationale once the pandemic is over.

This Thursday, a Fête nationale show is scheduled to be broadcast from the Manoir Richelieu in La Malbaie, Charlevoix.

However, there won't be the usual big shows in Quebec City or Montreal -- and there's no guarantee that they'll return in 2022.

This is something the Parti Québécois (PQ) says it disagrees with because the holiday brings Montreal, as a metropolis, together with the rest of the province.

PQ Leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon states the move by the government is "definitely a political decision," arguing the CAQ changes its position according to its partisan interests.

While in opposition, the CAQ already criticized the parties surrounding the Fête nationale, which it accused of being in line with sovereigntist thinking. At the time, the party asked that speeches about independence be barred from the celebrations.

There are usually two major events that take place: one on June 23 in Montreal and another on June 24 in a region of Quebec City, St-Pierre Plamondon pointed out in an interview with The Canadian Press.

Historically, there has always been a televised Saint-Jean celebration from the capital and it would be a "bad sign to ignore Montreal's place in Quebec" and interrupt that tradition, he states.

"It is fundamental for the integration of newcomers to celebrate the holiday in Montreal," he pleaded. "National pride is not only a regional matter, it is everywhere in Quebec."

He insists if the government chooses to host just one concert, it could be chosen "according to electoral considerations, in the ridings they prefer," something he believes is wrong.

Nevertheless, he says the Fête nationale is a holiday that will be celebrated across the province, regardless of where the big shows are.

In April, Montreal City Council had asked the government to guarantee the return of the televised Saint-Jean-Baptiste concert in 2022.

One month later, Culture Minister Nathalie Roy agreed that she would like to see a return of the televised shows, but did not confirm if they would be returning so soon.

The CAQ says it also no longer wants to allow the Mouvement national des Québécois (MNQ) to organize the annual festivities.

The organization has been in charge of the celebrations since 1984. 

-- This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on June 23, 2021.