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Quebec Solidaire leadership hopeful wants ridings reserved for women

Quebec Solidaire co-spokesperson Manon Masse, left, and MNA Ruba Ghazal pose in a city park in Montreal, Saturday, May 30, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes Quebec Solidaire co-spokesperson Manon Masse, left, and MNA Ruba Ghazal pose in a city park in Montreal, Saturday, May 30, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
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Aspiring Quebec Solidaire co-spokesperson Ruba Ghazal wants the 12 most winnable new ridings for her party to be all reserved for women candidates in the next election in 2026.

"My objective is to achieve parity and ensure that the 2022 election is the last in which we do not have parity as is currently the case," she told The Canadian Press in an interview.

The woman who wants to succeed Manon Massé as co-spokesperson of the party mentioned this commitment at a meeting with around 60 QS party members in Quebec City after announcing it to the Journal de Québec.

Currently, the QS caucus in the Quebec legislature is made up of eight men and only four women.

"A non-parity caucus is not democratic because it is not representative of society," she said.

The rules for determining winnable ridings have yet to be defined.

She denied that the idea was to impose women candidates on the members.

"It wouldn't be one woman imposed. There could be several women, and there would be nominations," said Ghazal.

At its national council last February, the party voted in favour of a proposal calling for the introduction of ways of imposing female candidates in future elections.

DEMOCRATIC DEBATE

This commitment comes at a time of internal tension within Québec Solidaire (QS) over Olivier Bolduc's candidacy in the Jean-Talon byelection.

"This is an important and healthy democratic debate," Ghazal told activists.

Just hours after Bolduc's candidacy was announced on Monday, an email signed by party president Nicolas Chatel-Launay was sent to QS members in Jean-Talon urging them "strongly" to choose a woman as their candidate for the byelection in the riding.

Ghazal doesn't think it was necessary to impose a woman for Jean-Talon, "but I'm very, very, very happy that the party has called -- and I know it can be controversial -- for members to vote for a woman," she said.

Christine Gilbert -- who is a professor at Laval University -- finally entered the nomination race this week.

MNA Christine Labrie and former MNA Émilise Lessard-Therrien are also in the running to become QS spokespersons.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on July 28, 2023. 

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