SAINT-HYACINTHE -- Outgoing Quebec Solidaire (QS) co-spokesperson Manon Masse delivered a rousing farewell speech to the 150 or so Solidaire supporters gathered at the National Council this weekend in Saint-Hyacinthe. But the elected representative from Sainte-Marie--Saint-Jacques stressed that, although she is stepping down as spokesperson, she is sticking with the party.

"I still have the fire, the flame burning inside me. If you were expecting a farewell speech, well, you were wrong. I'm not going away," she told the crowd.

Masse said that, when she started with QS, she had no idea where it would lead: "When I embarked on this adventure, I would never have believed, first of all, that one day I would be spokesperson. I also never thought I'd be an aspiring premier," she recounted.

The elected member of the QS also took the opportunity to criticize the Coalition avenir Quebec, which, in her opinion, is doing nothing to solve the housing crisis with its bill tabled on the last day of the parliamentary session.

"In the midst of the housing crisis, this is not the time to weaken Bill 31. Now is the time to write a law that will protect the world. A law that will ensure people have a roof over their heads," she asserted.

Her speech was interrupted several times by supporters who rose to applaud her and chant: "Ma-non, Ma-non!"

Masse announced she was stepping down as Quebec Solidaire spokesperson in May after six years. This was her last national council meeting in this position.

Despite this, Masse says she will remain an MNA to continue fighting the battles close to her heart.

"There is a humanitarian crisis that is lived daily in the streets of my riding. Every day, I come across people with distress in their eyes because they've lost their homes. Because they can't get enough to eat(…)Because, finally, they've been abandoned by the government," she said.

Massé intends to run again in the next election.


The race to succeed Massé begins on August 25. The new QS spokesperson will be elected at the party's convention from November 24 to 26.

Although the race has not officially begun, the three candidates for the spokesperson position are already campaigning.

Sherbrooke MNA Christine Labrie already has four supporters in the Solidaire caucus: Alexandre Leduc, Haroun Bouazzi, Etienne Grandmont and Guillaume Cliche-Rivard.

On Saturday, Mercier MNA Ruba Ghazal received the support of Jean-Lesage MNA Sol Zanetti, who described her as a "leader of independence with no complexes."

The former MNA for Rouyn-Noranda--Témiscamingue, Emilise Lessard-Therrien, currently has no support in the Solidaire caucus.

Masse says she is not worried about the future of her party. She believes it has reached political maturity, and the next generation is here.

"I'm giving up my position as spokesperson because I'm ready. And I'm ready because I know my party is ready," she said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on June 18, 2023.