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Quebec Conservative leader demands a place in National Assembly ahead of new session


Although his party failed to elect any MNAs on Oct. 3, Eric Duhaime maintains that a place in the National Assembly is rightfully his.

On Tuesday, as soon as Parliament resumes, the Quebec Conservative leader will send a letter to Nathalie Roy -- expected to become the new National Assembly president -- in the hopes of gaining special status, even though he was not elected.

"We must find a way to arrange a provision that will give us a minimum place in the sun," Duhaime told The Canadian Press on Sunday.

He points to the fact that his party received over half a million votes in the provincial election, arguing that their voices must be heard in the Quebec legislature.

Duhaime is asking for three things: an office in the parliamentary building, access to members of the parliamentary Press Gallery, and participation in closed-door sessions normally reserved for elected officials, for example, during budget presentations.

He says refusing his requests would be "somewhat undemocratic."

"It is completely absurd what is happening."

He said he has contacted other party leaders in recent weeks and is confident they will support his demands.

"These accommodations will not cost the taxpayers a penny, and this approach would send a positive sign that every vote counts in Quebec. It is about respecting your institution, promoting a healthy democracy and valuing every vote," Duhaime wrote in his letter, which will be sent out Tuesday as soon as the president is elected.


If just one of the existing 125 MNAs joined the Conservatives, the doors of Parliament would automatically open for Duhaime.

"We are beginning to identify people who are dissatisfied in the various caucuses," he admitted without giving names.

Despite his demands for a place in Parliament, Duhaime is not ready to call for a thorough reform of the rules and an overhaul of the voting system. His party has not yet made a decision on this issue -- but they will at their next convention in 2023.

The Conservative Party won 13 per cent of the popular vote on Oct. 3.

To obtain official recognition in the National Assembly, a parliamentary group must have at least 12 elected members or 20 per centof the vote.

"This percentage must be reviewed in light of the new reality," he said, referring to the creation of additional parties in recent years.

Duhaime said he would be in favour of lowering the bar for parliamentary recognition to "five or ten per cent" of the popular vote rather than 20 per cent, "which would be much more realistic."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Nov. 27, 2022. Top Stories

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