Future QLP leader can't ignore relaunch recommendations, party says
Published Sunday, May 28, 2023 8:42AM EDT
The next leader of the Quebec Liberal Party (QLP) shouldn't go against recommendations for the party's revival, said Nelligan MNA Monsef Derraji at the party's general council in Victoriaville on Saturday.
In an interview with The Canadian Press the day before, Madwa-Nika Cadet, co-chair of the QLP's comité de relance (relaunch committee), suggested that the next party leader would not necessarily be bound by the committee's recommendations, to be submitted in a report this fall.
"Every time such a document has been produced, it has never been binding on the party, in the sense that the QLP is not going to change its constitution automatically," echoed party president Rafaël Primeau-Ferraro on Saturday.
"The next leader will take it into account, but it won't be binding."
But some took issue with this point.
"Why do we have this revival committee if these recommendations aren't to forge our identity as a party?" said Liberal delegate William Korbatly during a workshop.
The party's interim leader, Marc Tanguay, tried to be reassuring.
"The next leader will have to deal with this important document," he told a press scrum.
He even called it a "landmark document" that will be "the fruit of hundreds of consultations."
In a press scrum, Monsef Derraji said that a future leader must have latitude and "make their mark," but cannot go against the committee's work.
"It's impossible for a future leader to do a 180-degree turn in relation to the major orientations of a committee that has worked very hard upstream with delegates."
The committee was set up at the end of March to suggest possible solutions in the wake of the October 2022 election.
It will try and determine the QLP's place on the political chessboard, what it means to be Liberal, and how to respond to Quebecers' aspirations.
QLP membership has declined steadily over the past decade, currently at an all-time low of 15,000.
In last year's general election, the QLP fell below the 600,000-vote mark at 591,077 votes, slightly more than Éric Duhaime's Conservative Party (530,786), but less than Québec solidaire (634,535) and the Parti québécois (600,708).
The party was wiped out in all regions of Quebec, except Montreal, Laval, Montérégie and Outaouais.
The QLP nonetheless retained its official opposition status, electing 21 MNAs thanks to its concentrated vote in several ridings with large English-speaking populations.
Adding to the turmoil, Vaudreuil MNA Marie-Claude Nichols was expelled from the caucus shortly after the election.
Then, a by-election was held in March following the resignation of QLP leader Dominique Anglade. The party ended up losing Saint-Henri-Sainte-Anne, a former Liberal stronghold in Montreal, to Québec solidaire (QS).
The Liberal caucus is now made up of 19 elected members.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on May 28, 2023.