Delegates at a Quebec Solidaire congress this weekend have rejected forming a strategic alliance with the Parti Quebecois.

The two new spokespeople for the sovereignist left-wing party, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois and Manon Massé, referred to a “deep wound” carried by cultural communities in the province in regards to the PQ’s proposed Charter of Values under the Marois government as well as the PQ’s refusal to lead a commission into systemic racism.

“One of the problems with the Parti Quebecois is they have chosen in the past to take the path of division and exclusion, and a big part of our DNA in Quebec Soldaire is the opposite; it’s inclusion,” said Nadeau-Dubois.

Passionate debate took place over the matter at the convention on Sunday, where several delegates referred to the PQ as “xenophobic” and expressed concern that teaming up with the PQ would burn bridges Quebec Solidaire had built with cultural communities and anglophones.

“I know that, especially in my generation, a lot of anglophones do not have the same fear of independence that maybe was in the anglphone community in the last decades. I think we're entering a new era in terms of relationships between the anglopone and francophone communities,” said Nadeau-Dubois.

A "clear majority" of delegates voted against election pacts with the PQ.

Massé said the Quebec Solidaire didn’t say no the PQ so much as, “We said ‘Yes’ to Quebec Solidaire – it's a little difference.”

The goal for the strategic alliance with the Parti Quebecois was that parties could negotiate and avoid having their candidates run against each other in key, strategic ridings. Quebec Solidaire, then, wouldn't have competition from the PQ in certain ridings and vice-versa.

Convergence was seen by some as a strategy that could help defeat the Liberals in the next election in 2018.

In a tweet, the PQ responded to the rejection, saying it is “proud it held out a hand and proposed something else and tried joining forces rather than division.”

The PQ said it respects the decision made by Quebec Solidaire, but admitted disappointment. PQ MNA Veronique Hivon, who was led the convergence charge for the PQ, said that sovereignists and progressives have consistently demanded that the two parties work together and rise above traditional partisanship.

“Today they have to explain why they are shutting their door to the will of the people. And even of their people, people who vote for Quebec Solidaire,” she said, adding that the PQ now believes it is the “only political force that can prevent the re-election of a right-wing federalist government.”

Several Parti Quebecois members took to social media to express their anger over the decision, accusing Quebec Solidaire of ensuring a Liberal Party win in 2018.

“I think the PQ are desperate. They thought that electing a new leader would give them the energy, would give them the attention. That was naïve,” said political analyst Bruce Hicks.

Despite rejecting the PQ, Quebec Solidaire did, however, agree to open a dialogue on a possible merger with Option Nationale, a centre-left sovereignist party.

Nadeau-Dubois and Massé were named spokespeople for the party earlier this weekend at the convention.

“We made a lot of decisions in four days,” said Nadeau-Dubois. “But what I think we can conclude from those four days is that Quebec Solidaire has entered a new era and is turning the page on all the discussions with the Parti Quebecois and clearly coming in front of the people of Quebec and saying we are ready for power. We are ready to be the next government of Quebec and we have a real plan for society,” he said.


With a report from The Canadian Press