Québec solidaire - the thread

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Pogo wrote:

I don't know a more common story than a news source publishing a scoop that a politician is going to retire, often wrecking their personal timeline for releasing the news. 

You're right, of course. I didn't mean to suggest it was uncommon. I just meant it was disrespectful.

Amir will be talking to the media this morning. Not sure I can bear to hear that he's leaving. But life goes on.


Amir won't seek a 4th term:

"A New Chapter Begins"

He's leaving the National Assembly, but will continue his involvement in politics of all kinds and with QS. He's leaving the party with strong successors, and he predicts they'll do well in the next election - including in ridings where the polls don't give them a shot. And he's donating his entire MNA severance package to community and social groups, primarily in his riding of Mercier.

Bon voyage Amir, and success in all your ventures!


Merci, Amir! http://www.merciamir.com/ I knew Amir even before the founding of the UFP in 2002...  and have met many members of the Khadir-Machouf clan.

With stereotypes about the Plateau, and a lot of actual real-estate speculation, people forget how much poverty there still is there and the area's long history of community and social associations. I'm very happy that Dr Khadir was willing and able to donate his package, but it shouldn't be viewed as a (moral) requirement. Thinking for example of Manon who has always worked for community groups and who is actually earning more as an MNA.

You can leave greetings and messages at Merci Amir. In case there are any trolls, I'm sure his staff is reading them first and discarding anything nasty.


Ruba Ghazal in Mercier: https://quebecsolidaire.net/nouvelle/ruba-ghazal-candidate-a-linvestitur...


I haven't found anything in English yet. Nothing at either the Gazoo or CBC.


Anglo-suprematist! ROLFOL French suprematists are so much better. 


No supremacist is good and nobody here is claiming that they are. But the reference was to certain actual anglo-supremacist currents, such the unlamented Equality party. Nobody here is supporting la Meute.



Ken Burch

Pondering wrote:

Anglo-suprematist! ROLFOL French suprematists are so much better. 

Where did you get the idea that anybody on BABBLE would be backing any sort of supremacists?  



Nothing on the Gazette or CBC, but especially when the candidate is an unknown I don't know why any news outlet would have an obligation to report on someone running for a nomination. I'm sure there are hundreds of people running for a nomination for the Liberals, PQ, CAQ and QS who haven't been reported on.

Also say what you will about "the Gazoo" I didn't see Le Devoir breaking the story that the second most prolific Neo Nazi organizer in North America lives in Montreal in anonymity.

progressive17 progressive17's picture

I have to admit that story in the Gazette about the Nazi turd in Montreal was quite gripping. 


Unionist wrote:

What are you both talking about (anglo-supremacist)??? Did something get edited out of a post before I saw it? Or should I leave well enough alone?

I was referring to post 49 which was gossiping about Pietro. I found the "anglo-supremacists" reference too funny to ignore.

Ken Burch wrote:
Could be that he thinks QS losing all its seats to the PQ would force QS supporters to "know their place" and vote for NPD-Q, and for NPD-Q to therefore feel free to be as Anglo-supremacist as he'd like them to be(and to speak as much French as Dave Barrett).

hardy har har




epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..this article is in french from apr of this year. i'm using chromium browser to translate it.

Québec solidaire: Making the fight against climate change a priority of the electoral campaign

Every day brings a lot of bad news: Quebec is seriously behind in its GHG reduction target and the new agency set up by the Liberal government, Transition énergétique Québec, is not going anywhere. Despite announcements of major projects in public transportation, the inconsistency of the Couillard government, which persists in encouraging the hydrocarbon sector, particularly that of natural gas, is turning a blind eye. All of this is happening as the IPCC and international experts sound the alarm: current state commitments make it extremely unlikely that the goals of the Paris agreement will be met, and the current trajectory of CO2 emissions will have catastrophic effects on climate change. planet.

To be discussed at the May National Council

More than ever, the importance of advancing an energy transition plan is imperative and Québec solidaire must make it one of the top priorities of its election campaign in 2018. QS is well equipped to formulate a transition plan since many milestones have been placed over the years: the oil exit plan released in 2014; the update of the program section "For a solidarity, ecological and democratic economy" in 2016; and the adoption of the electoral platform in 2017 with a well-developed section on the environment.

In addition, party spokespersons and members of parliament regularly intervene on environmental issues and many activists are actively involved in the many ecological mobilizations that are taking place everywhere in Quebec.

All elements are thus brought together for Québec solidaire to formulate an ecological transition plan. The national council scheduled for May 11 to 13 may provide the ideal ramp to launch the key elements of this plan and decide on the importance to be given to it in an election campaign.


For a just and transformative transition

What are the essential elements of the just, green and democratic transition as envisioned by Québec solidaire? :

- a GHG reduction program to achieve the 95% target in 2050 with ambitious intermediate targets, 
- the development of electrified public transport at both urban and suburban levels, and energy efficiency programs at the residential level as commercial and industrial, 
- the development of a public utility for the production and distribution of renewable energies in Quebec (Hydro-Québec, Éole-Québec, etc.). Energy sources are a common good that must be under democratic and public control. 
- the creation of quality green jobs in all regions and free training programs for workers affected by the gradual removal of fossil fuels, 
- the mobilization of workers, local communities through participatory democracy mechanisms, 
- respect for the rights of indigenous peoples and their full consent to projects affecting their territory. 
- measures of international solidarity with people in developing countries and those hard hit by climate change

As we see, a genuine energy transition can not be limited to a series of technical measures within the current system. This approach takes us straight back into the current cul de sac. Transition must be conceived as a profound social transformation in terms of production, consumption, lifestyle and international relations. In short, to the neoliberal vision we must oppose a fair, democratic and united vision leading to the overcoming of the current system.

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Québec Solidaire Prepares to Confront a New Government of Austerity and Social and Ethnic Polarization

Richard Fidler

Québec solidaire’s 10 members of the National Assembly, elected October 1, took their oath of office on October 17 in two parts.

The oath of allegiance to the Queen, required by the British North America Act (now the Constitution Act) in order to take their seats in the Assembly, was conducted behind closed doors, presided over by the secretary of the Assembly.

In a public ceremony held in the former chamber of the Legislative Council (the appointed upper house abolished in the 1960s) the 10 MNAs pledged their “real” loyalty “to the people of Quebec.” Then, to the acclaim of many supporters of Quebec sovereignty, both QS and non-QS, they promised to introduce a bill to abolish the oath to the Queen, described by the party’s co-leader Manon Massé as “anti-democratic” and “archaic.”

Although symbolic, it was an auspicious gesture reflecting Québec solidaire’s determination to present a real progressive alternative to the new government of the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ), sworn into office the following day.


Rioux summarizes the CAQ’s agenda for its four-year mandate. Among promised measures:

  • Privatization of public services, especially in education and health care, for example by continuing the expansion of private clinics allowed by both PQ and Liberal governments.
  • Greater inequality in the distribution of wealth through tax reductions for business.
  • Support for gas and oil exploration and exploitation, and rejection of any plan for environmental transition to renewable energy sources. Legault supported the Energy East pipeline project, cancelled for now following mass protests.
  • Regressive nationalism that caters to white male identity. During the election campaign Legault promised a 20% reduction in immigration quotas and threatened to expel applicants for citizenship who failed to pass tests on language skills and Quebec “values” within three years. Since the election he has promised to prevent state employees in “positions of authority,” including teachers and not just cops, prison guards and judges, from wearing signs denoting religious belief. In this he expands the scope of the Liberal government’s Bill 62, which prohibited citizens from wearing face coverings when receiving or dispensing public services – a measure clearly aimed at Muslim women in particular. (Now law, it has yet to take effect pending a constitutional challenge.)

The CAQ promises a pro-business orientation that will wean Quebec off federal “equalization” payments that offset relatively low government revenues with income derived from higher-income provinces such as the petro-province Alberta. At present Quebec gets the lion’s share of such payments, almost $12-billion or about 62% of the total Ottawa gives the six have-not provinces. Overall federal transfer payments, including cash for health care and social programs, total $24.3-billion, or 22% of Quebec government revenues in the current fiscal year. However, the CAQ’s fiscal framework, tabled during the election campaign, projected federal transfers of $25.6-billion in 2022-23, the final year of the CAQ’s mandate. Indeed, it is hard to see how significant progress in reducing this dependency on federal transfers can be achieved without huge cutbacks in government expenditures. The CAQ promises to cut at least 5,000 employees from the public payroll, but that might be only a beginning.


Shift to the Left Within the Pro-Sovereignty Spectrum

The combined PQ-QS share of the popular vote (respectively 17% and 16%) was roughly equivalent to the percentage of Québécois supporting independence in recent years, and about the same as in the previous election, in 2014. But it represented a sea change within the movement.

For the PQ it was the worst result since the party was founded 50 years ago; for QS, it was a major breakthrough. QS gained 7 seats, 4 at the expense of the PQ and the other 3 from the PLQ. The PQ was wiped off the map in Montréal, while QS is not only the second party there but won four seats outside the metropolis: two in Quebec City, one each in Sherbrooke and Abitibi. Although the two parties each have ten seats (the PQ picked up one on a recount, and will rank third in the National Assembly ahead of QS because its popular vote is larger) the PQ is still a major force within the pro-sovereignty movement. It boasts 80,000 members compared with QS’s 20,000. The PQ ranked second in the popular vote in 34 ridings, QS was second in 14.

However, QS was stronger among voters under the age of 35, according to exit polls. And when the Quebec Electoral Officer sponsored a mock vote during the campaign in more than a thousand high schools and youth organizations, QS won the most support among the 81,375 young people who voted: 26.15%, followed by the PLQ and CAQ (just over 22% each) and the PQ (15.37%).

Some PQ leaders, realizing the party’s error in its venomous attacks on QS during the election campaign, are now openly suggesting their party should seek “convergence” with QS. And they are not alone.

Claudette Carbonneau, a former president of the CSN union central and now chair of OUI Québec, a united front of sovereigntist parties and trade unions, said an exploration of prospects for convergence should be high on the agenda of the Assises nationales de concertation (national joint-action conference) the coalition plans to hold soon on the future of the independence project:

“If QS and the PQ don’t find an original way to combine their efforts around some essential issues, they will condemn themselves to a certain marginality with respect to climate change, the urgency of a massive reinvestment in our public services, without overlooking their responsibility to bring about independence, indissociable from these objectives.”3

Pierre Dubuc, editor of the left publication L’aut’journal, goes further. Acknowledging “the strategic adroitness of QS” in bringing independence to the fore and giving it substance through the fusion with Option nationale last year,4 Dubuc deplores the fact that once again the division of the independentist and progressive vote paved the way to putting the Right in power. Failing the advent of proportional representation, he says, “it is overridingly important that independentists and progressives unite within a single party,” albeit one that “allows the expression of different tendencies.” Dubuc thinks the PQ decline began when Pauline Marois in 2010 banned the presence of a left-wing “political club” within the PQ, the SPQ Libre, which he founded and led as its Secretary. Dubuc has operated politically for almost two decades as a harsh critic of Québec solidaire and its predecessors for “splitting the independence vote.” He still cannot bring himself to acknowledge the futility of his own attempts to reform the Parti québécois.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..more from the above


André Frappier, a prominent QS member and former president of the Montréal postal workers (CUPW), puts the issue of QS-PQ relations in historical context:

“In 2017 we decided as we had done two times previously to run candidates in all the ridings because what we defend is based on the peoples’ struggles for social justice and control of their destiny, and for a Quebec that belongs to those who inhabit it.7

“The PQ abandoned this terrain a long time ago, and has proved this a hundred times. Its anti-union laws in the 1980s, the neoliberal austerity of [PQ premier Lucien] Bouchard in 1999, the secret contracts [PQ premier Pauline] Marois’ government signed with [the oil company] Petrolia on Anticosti Island and the return to zero deficit of [PQ finance minister] Marceau, the cuts in social assistance by [PQ minister] Agnès Maltais, the total abdication of that government when dealing with the mining companies, and its continuation of [Liberal premier Jean] Charest’s Plan Nord. And to complete things, the charter of Quebec values that divided Quebec in order to win votes, and stigmatized an entire part of the population and Muslim community in particular.”

Talk about a convergence between the PQ and QS is essentially a false debate, Frappier argues.

“The change in alternance of the neoliberal parties with the election of the CAQ and the failure of the PQ in relation to the project of Quebec sovereignty presents us with an inescapable observation. The future of Quebec society can only proceed through a political party that is linked to social mobilization for control of its fate and in opposition to right-wing policies. The only party in the running is now Québec solidaire.

“The social change needed to fight against control by the oil companies, multinationals, financial institutions, against corruption and tax evasion, can only be realized by a left party like Québec solidaire. It requires as well the mobilization of the population conscious of the role it must play, of the trade unions, of the women’s movements, the ethnocultural communities, environmental groups and other social movements…

And ‘a party of the streets’?

With its ten MNAs, Québec solidaire will be focused very much in coming months on shaping its parliamentary intervention, developing expertise in various policy fields, and learning how to make its principles and program relevant and understandable to a much wider audience. However, as Frappier argues, the party also faces a huge challenge in developing the other component of “a party of the ballot box and the streets.” Much can be said about this, but here I will simply draw attention to three texts, available on line, that can help to orient this needed debate in QS.

Parliamentary action and social struggles – The experience of the Portuguese Left Bloc” is an important contribution by a founding leader of a party that has many similarities to Québec solidaire in a country not much larger than Québec. Francisco Louçã is a Left Bloc member of the Portuguese parliament and a former Bloc candidate in the 2005 presidential election. With just over 10% of the popular vote, the party has 19 seats in the Assembly of the Republic under a system of proportional representation.

By electing MPs, Louçã writes, “the Bloc has taken a leap forward, becoming a reference party for the popular struggle.” Institutional representation requires close attention to developing technical skills and professional teams to support the party’s parliamentary work, which now includes municipal action. But “this has a significant cost: a significant part of our most experienced activists are taken up in institutional involvement.”

“We must emerge from the cycle of defensive struggles and defeats that have characterized politics for decades.”

“These institutional machines therefore absorb much of our activist capacity. It is never clear in advance whether or not this will lead to adaptation to the system, but this institutional standardization generates pressure in this direction. These possible forms of adaptation may be varied: resignation to very limited measures in the name of maintaining the positions acquired; refusal to criticise the institutions or their management in the name of possible future agreements; the idea that politics advances in small steps; fear of public opinion which leads to not presenting a socialist alternative which leads to other institutional forms; desire to avoid the risk of conflict for fear of losing. All these forms of adaptation distort a left-wing policy based on popular representation.”

The Bloc has made little progress on representation within the social movements, he adds. It needs to build organized forces in the unions and workplaces, and figure out how to get young people to “join us and find ways of training and political action.” And Louçã explains the relation between this question and the struggle for socialism, which the Bloc sets as its goal.

“Capitalism is a mode of production, of reproduction of the conditions of production and of representation of the conditions of production and reproduction. This definition underlines the essential point: there is no capitalist production without the system reproducing itself and for this reason it mobilizes its representation, which is based on the alienation of work, social relations, life, relations with nature, but also in the alienation of electoral representation and voting. The separation of the worker from the product of their work, from the control of their life, from their social and even electoral power is the foundation of the conformism on which bourgeois hegemony is based. That is why left-wing politics is a social movement and aims to strengthen itself in the perspective that its ideas and proposals also have an impact on elections; that is why it does not give any ground in the dispute over hegemony; that is precisely why the socialist strategy can only triumph in the social struggle…

“[T]he success of this electoral option does not demonstrate that representation is a sufficient condition for socialist politics. Designed as an instrument to accumulate forces, it is useful. Conceived as a form of conditioning and loss of critical sense and social alternative, it fails. The left only exists through social protagonism, through conflict or strategic intervention in class struggle. In other words, it needs to be part of the class movement. This is how it always measures its strengths.”

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..this piece is from a link in the fiddler article. it is translated by the chromium browser.

Support or animation: what role for a constituency association of a political party like Québec solidaire?

Nowadays, the political game is much about the personality of party leaders and their ability to place a few "lines" in the media. Ongoing information and social networks only accentuate this trend. In some constituencies where results are tight, however, the strength of a constituency association may be significant enough to tip the balance in a general election. For an emerging party that does not have the support of the media or financial elite, the militant base is often the only resource on which to rely. This was and still is the case for Quebec Solidaire (QS), a party that claims the ballot box and the street. In this text,

A local association has essentially two mandates: to participate in the democratic life of the party and to prepare the ground for elections. It must therefore convene general meetings to work on the program. This is not an easy task in a very democratic party like QS. A lot of time must also be spent on the various fundraising campaigns of the party. Most associations have difficulty fulfilling both of these mandates, but it is more of a challenge to find volunteers to fund than to discuss policy.

The development of QSHM

The QS association in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve is one of the first set-ups after the founding congress of the party in February 2006, but it begins its real development after the beginning of Jean Charest's last term in 2008. In the 2012 elections , Hochelaga-Maisonneuve activists note the unsuspected importance of local issues. Although the party has a detailed platform on several topics of national interest, the association does not have a very developed local argument. To overcome this problem and better understand the needs of our community, a "local presence" committee is set up.

In 2014, a few hundred votes are missing to win the local election. Expectations are high for the "future MP" team, which is having trouble providing a field presence similar to that of a team with parliamentary resources. In addition, QSHM activists are very active in other settings (unions, community groups, etc.). However, the association is strong enough to assume the participation in the democratic life of the party and the pre-election organization, not to mention the local political action.

Two poles of political action

Our experience in QSHM leads us to analyze the political action of a local association through two approaches: support and animation.

The support role is essentially aimed at publicizing and participating in actions already organized by groups or citizen groups. This role requires little organizational energy, but it does not allow the party to be put forward. The role of animation, meanwhile, allows an association to organize a political action on its own bases and then to reap the rewards. Thus, the association builds its credibility towards the groups and the citizens of its district or its region. In other words, she animates her environment.

QSHM, like the majority of local associations, waltz between these two poles. However, it has to deal with a peculiarity unique to Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, namely the presence of numerous community groups and citizens with a strong history of mobilization. As a result, it becomes difficult to take initiatives on several issues without directly impinging on the mission of these groups. It is impossible, for example, to organize something on food security without encroaching on the Chic Resto Pop or the Collective Kitchen, to name a few. What would be the point of organizing an action on social housing alone when the BAILS committee occupies this field very well? We propose to explore our model of analysis through this overview of some examples where QSHM has been involved politically, either in support or animation.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..last quote on the above


A nuanced experience

Finally, this waltz between support role and animation role is transposed to the national level. The relationship between a leftist political party and social movements has been studied many times. Should the party limit itself to supporting social movements by resuming their demands in its program? Should it, on the contrary, maintain a healthy distance with social movements, and attempt to embody an inspiring and mobilizing synthesis of their different aspirations and interests?

QSHM's local experience is interesting in that it offers a nuanced reading of this duality. Meeting the needs and expectations of different activists requires a good mix of internal party activities and local activities. While some prefer the rigor of the assemblies, national councils and congresses, others prefer the human contact of a mobilization action. The development of QSHM accelerated when we were able to offer both types of activities. Everyone could then find his account and feel useful within the association. This made it possible to interest members in the medium and long term that the association would otherwise have seen much less often.

For advocates of mobilization actions, reaching a balance between support and animation centers is tricky, particularly in a highly politicized neighborhood that hosts many community groups such as Hochelaga-Maisonneuve. To occupy an important place in the constituency, the association must have the courage to play an animation role even if, for that, it will sometimes not have the same interests as existing groups. Identifying, assuming and tempering differences will make the association a useful actress in its community.

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Understanding Québec solidaire’s electoral breakthrough

Roger Rashi


A People’s Platform

Québec solidaire’s electoral platform sought to illustrate this “us versus them” approach by skillfully combining immediate demands popular with the social movements—such as a $15 per hour minimum wage, free public education from daycare through university, and universal dental care—with a call to transition to a green economy, featuring an immediate ban on fossil fuel extraction, heavy public investments in electric mass transit systems, and banning the sale of gas-powered cars by 2030.

The transition plan, issued midway through the campaign as an 86-page booklet titled “Maintenant ou jamais” (Now or Never), also called for the creation of 300,000 green jobs by 2030 and publicly-funded programs to help workers and affected communities transition away from fossil fuel industries (1).

Derided as unrealistically radical and socialist by the mainstream media and other opponents, QS refused to buckle and instead upped the ante by proposing that this $12.9 billion proposal be funded by massive tax increases on corporations and high-income earners, well-aimed carbon taxes, and an expanded public Green Fund. Despite the constant barrage of criticism, this transition plan has proved highly popular with environmentalists, union activists, young voters, and progressives. It turned out to be key to energizing Québec solidaire’s base in the popular movements and bringing out the youth vote.


Election Tactics: Inspired by France Insoumise and Podemos?

Québec solidaire’s election tactics bear more than a passing resemblance to those adopted by Spain’s Podemos and France Insoumise. These two radical left European formations each ran successful domestic election campaigns employing a political strategy, often attributed to radical Belgian thinker Chantal Mouffe, known as “left populism” (4).

A quick review of the tactics used by QS reveals clear similarities to those of these two European left formations, including:

– an anti-elite discourse and refusal to compromise with social-liberal parties; – an inclusive and diverse vision of who constitutes “the people”; – a program drawn from the popular movements and offering radical social change; – creative campaign tools, combining strong presence in mainstream media, energetic use of social media, dynamic local outreach, and scores of activists on the ground.

There is however at least one notable difference. While both Podemos and France Insoumise have tended to shy away from the “left” label, Québec solidaire has always stressed its left identity and social movement roots. In the Quebec landscape, dominated for so long by the “federalist versus independentist” political divide, constantly reaffirming the need for a left alternative was and remains an absolute must. It is a prerequisite for combining Quebec’s “national question” with class, social, feminist and environmental concerns toward a truly emancipatory, anti-capitalist project

Challenges Ahead

Mobilization from below: The new right-wing government will probably unleash some of the harshest neoliberal and xenophobic attacks in recent history. Québec solidaire, with its new strength in the political scene, will come under tremendous pressure to moderate its discourse and confine itself to the parliamentary arena. However, only a massive mobilization of social movements in the streets can tip the balance of forces and block the right-wing offensive. Having ten QS members in the National Assembly will help give voice to the popular opposition, but the real battle will be fought outside of parliament.

The party leadership is aware of the challenges ahead, and already on election night vowed that Québec solidaire would remain a popular political movement fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with all those seeking fundamental social and economic change. Concretizing this party-movement idea will entail shifting the focus of local and regional party organizations away from the electoral arena, where it’s been for much of the past year, and toward the social front, where alliances, united fronts, and the unity of social movements will become a primary task.

Sean in Ottawa

I agree with the idea of an oath -- how about one to address loyalty to health of the planet and wellbeing of generations to come and recognition of Indigenous peoples.

This is more fitting than some loyalty to a hereditary figurehead.

Problem is the Queen has more standing in law than either the first peoples here or the people who will be here after us and the planet we live on. That is a major distortion in the direction of government attitude.


Sol Zanetti recognised the rights of Indigenous peoples (and if I recall, treaty rights) in his public oath. An oath to the health of our planet would certainly be in order. Things are far worse than most people suspected, and still, so many parties including the leader in the Qc elections are  unwilling to take the needed steps.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Do Catherine Dorion’s Doc Martens really matter?


The same thing is playing out in Quebec with another firebrand, Catherine Dorion. In her riding of Taschereau, Québec Solidaire went from fourth place in 2014 to victory by 8,500 votes in the provincial election in October. I volunteered on her campaign.

Dorion’s power is embedded in her style

Immediately, the story was about her clothes. Would Dorion try to wear her toque to the National Assembly? Do Dorion’s Doc Martens make her different?

Last week, media erupted when she compared a proposed new highway to a line of coke. Called the 3e lien, the project is proposed to become the third roadway linking Quebec City with Lévis on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River.

It has become a proxy for the political divide: those on the right who want to see Quebec City’s suburbs grow larger and further from the city centre, versus those on the left who argue that the city can’t handle more traffic. The 3e lien has become the primary preoccupation of right-wing politicians, notably the governing Coalition Avenir Québec.

Columnists pointed to Dorion’s lack of decorum, as they called it, for daring to talk about our collective addiction to cars. In response, Dorion made a video to elaborate her metaphor. After two minutes explaining the consensus among experts that the 3e lien is bad public policy, she says that a new highway would be as effective as using coke to party longer: “Oh, I’ll do this line of coke. I’ll be less drunk, I’ll have more energy” she says, “except, what happens? You need another line of coke!” Just as new highways always beget more highways as people move further away from their work because they think the commute won’t be so bad.

The video shows nearly 350,000 views in less than a week.

Dorion’s power is embedded in her style, the way she talks and the way she engages in politics. She embodies for the left what the right-wing has had a lock on for so long in Quebec.

Attacks meant to inhibit audacity, chill ambition

Right-wing radio, especially in Quebec City, has the power to make politicians successful and to make political demands, like the 3e lien, popular. Talk radio feeds the isolation that commuters experience (Quebec City has more highway lengths per capita than anywhere else in North America), and their personalities talk like Dorion: basic, straightforward and folksy.

Dorion’s confrontation to the status quo is threatening the right-wing grip on this kind of speech. She employs the same tactics as they do, and her effective explanations become much harder to refute.

Her video was a success. A few days later came a new scandal: that Dorion drives a Subaru XV Crosstrek 2015, an SUV (except there is some debate on whether this vehicle is truly an SUV). Some journalists tried to demonstrate hypocrisy between Dorion’s 3e lien position and owning a car, or Québec Solidaire’s environmental platform. While the Crosstrek isn’t the most eco-responsible car you can buy, it’s far less polluting than a Chevrolet Tahoe 2018 SUV (8.1L per 100/km vs. 13L per 100/km).

But these details don’t actually matter, because it isn't about the car. It isn’t about hypocrisy, or good public policy. If it were, Quebec Premier François Legault would stir a similar media sensation with his formal support for an industrial project in Bécancour that will pump greenhouse gas into the atmosphere equivalent to 180,000 more cars on our roads.


Dorion also shares the car with other members of her family, including an uncle and cousin(s)? They also have a chalet together.

By the way, QS  has official party status now.


What an uplifting article. QS' increased public profile is really encouraging. As Lagatta mentioned, Legault gave both QS and the PQ party status. It encourages me to think he may well institute PR in Quebec. He could be a true believer.

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Québec solidaire reviews the election and maps campaign on climate crisis

Québec solidaire will make climate change the party’s main political campaign issue in the coming year, both in and outside the National Assembly. The campaign will build on the major proposals in the QS economic transition plan featured in the recent Quebec general election.

Meeting in Montréal December 7-9, the party’s National Committee (CN), which comprises delegates from its constituency associations and other membership bodies, debated and adopted a “political balance sheet” of the October 1 election, in which Québec solidaire doubled its share of the popular vote to 16% and elected 10 deputies to the National Assembly.

In addition to adopting a leadership proposal to prioritize the issue of climate crisis and how to fight it, the CN held a preliminary discussion on how to prepare an internal debate on “secularism and religious signs” that is to arm the party to counter Islamophobic legislation threatened by the new CAQ government.[1] An introductory document was introduced setting out the existing program on these questions, adopted in 2009, along with changes proposed by some party leaders in recent years.[2] The plan is to clarify the party’s position at the next National Committee meeting, to be held in March 2019.....


lagatta4 wrote:

Dorion also shares the car with other members of her family, including an uncle and cousin(s)? They also have a chalet together.

Not to mention that we use what is available to us. This notion that environmentalists can't have cars or use oil unless they approve the unending burning of fossil fuels is ridiculous. As a society we have to create practical alternatives. High speed trains for suburban commuters and radically improved public transport.

I had a hugely frustrating experience yesterday. 1h 15 min journey turned into a 2 h trip which would have taken a 1/2 in a car. People with busy lives can't afford that so they use private vehicles.


The degree to which the francophone media is obsessed with Dorion's lifestyle and wardrobe is almost comical. They essentially turned her into one of the most well known political figures in Quebec, not based on anything she's actually achieved, but because they can't shut up about her clothes and SUV. Who the hell cares?

In an attempt to discredit her, they gave her a stage and degree of noteriety that gives power. Had they just shut up, she'd just be another MNA among 125 others. The media is pathetic all too often.


Francine Pelletier wrote a good article on this from a feminist viewpoint; how women are always scrutinised.

Her car, while it is a "monospace" (useful for carrying camping supplies) is much to small to be considered an SUV by most standards.

She is one of the few MNAs who can easily walk to the National Assembly! So could Amir, because he was staying with longterm friends (also friends of mine) who live in St-Roch just down the stairs/hill from upper town.

I was thinking of the infamous Docs while returning home in what had turned to F R E E Z ING R A I N. Une femme élégante was walking ahead of me, teetering, because other than her very beautiful deep-blue coat, she was wearing boots with stiletto heels (!) I most certainly understand the desire to wear attractive clothing, getting discouraged by the ugly, heavy coverings we must wear here in the cold, but this was beyond ridiculous. There is attractive footwear now that isn't potentially lethal.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

The real opposition in Québec

Andrea Levy and André Frappier


One of the great strengths of Québec solidaire, and what makes it unique in the political landscape in both Québec and Canada, is its rootedness in and ability to engage with social movements — not so much the labour movement, which has, in the 12 years since QS was founded, by and large supported the PQ (although that may be changing), but in the 21st century expressions of the new social movements: from feminist groups to antipoverty groups, from tenants’ rights groups to anti-extractivist groups, and perhaps most significantly, the student movement. Here the connection is incarnated by Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, the leader of the most radical of the student associations during Québec’s momentous student strike in 2012. Nadeau-Dubois joined the party in 2016, becoming one of the cospokespersons (QS has no leader) and his entry into the parliamentary arena saw a big spike in the party’s membership. The other co-spokesperson is Manon Massé, a gender non-conforming community organizer who is the antithesis of a professional politician. The party is also driven by an active membership, so far not yielding to the kind of professionalization and narrow parliamentarianism that engenders sclerosis. All this helps to explain QS’ popularity with younger voters. Now, however, with a larger caucus (the party won an additional seven seats for a total of 10), it will be a challenge for the party organization to limit the autonomy and power of the parliamentary wing and keep QS true to its aim of being “a party of the ballot box and the streets.”

The breakthrough of Québec solidaire is cause for celebration, especially in the current political climate. Hundreds of thousands of voters sought a genuine alternative to the stale items on the traditional political menu and found it on the left, in a party committed to system change. But that change can only be achieved through sustained mass mobilization.



It seems like QS is seriously considering dropping the Bouchard-Taylor nonsense, or at least loosening their stance on it. I greatly respect them for this, as these religious symbols laws were one of the main reasons that I didn't vote QS for the first time since they formed the party.

This whole laïcité debate will be one of the great shames of Quebec in 20 years.


I'm strongly in favour of state secularism, but it has little or nothing to do with how private citizens dress. Get the effing crucifix out of the National Assembly, for a start.

On a lighter note, QS MNA Sol Zanetti has won a locally-well-known tart/pie making contest: https://www.journaldequebec.com/2019/02/10/le-depute-sol-zanetti-remport... You can see Sol sitting in the gallery overlooking the infamous Duplessis crucifix.

swallow swallow's picture

Are those jeans? Tut tut.


Is this another facet of telling people how to dress?

swallow swallow's picture

It's a reference to the idiocy of David Birnbaum, Francois Legualt & others and others who are policing what  is worn in the Assnat by Sol Zanetti & Catehrine Dorion. https://montreal.ctvnews.ca/is-it-suitable-dress-code-discussed-after-mn...


The CTV report is a bit fuzzy. Ms Dorion was not wearing a tank top in the Blue Chamber while it was sitting; I think she was showing some constituents around the building. The t-shirt was in solidarity with Franco-Ontarians being treated like crap by the Ford government. She has the shadow portfolio in la francophonie, including Francophones outside Québec as well as French-speaking countries.  Usually she dresses far more "normally", but Dorion is an artist (theatre and visual arts) so her normal is not the same as a chartered accountant's. I saw what Sol was wearing and it consisted of a sport jacket or blazer and jeans-style trousers (not blue) and leather casual shoes. He was dressed like a Cégep prof, which he is.


There was a time when it was illegal to wear purple if you weren't royalty. Clothing can be used to denote class and I suspect that is behind the desire to impose "respectful" dressing. Wearing a suit is no longer the norm. Jeans are the norm. When I elect someone they have the right to represent me regardless of what they are wearing. If I don't like it I won't elect them again. 

“The way you dress is also a message that you send to the public, and in this institution, I think that neutrality, in terms of message, except for the messages that we voice, is something that we should go by,” said Liberal MNA Gaetan Barrette.

I expect politicians to be political. If they choose to send a message through what they are wearing as well as what they are saying I don't see the problem. They are elected by the people. 

We say, "the party in power" but it is our representatives that are in power, not a party even if a party has the majority of seats. 


It is true that even in many "professional" fields, especially tech, communications and culture, a less formal outfit has become the norm. Dark jeans are acceptable, and ties have become very much the exception.

There are still class signifiers though.


Québec solidaire is holding a rally at Cégep Ahuntsic in the north of Montréal to protest the shredding of a great many immigration applications: https://montrealgazette.com/news/quebec/quebec-solidaire-organizing-prot...


More on the rally. Both MNAs cited, Ruba Ghazal, arrived as children with immigrant or refugee families. Andrés Fontecilla's family were from Chile. And of course Amir from Iran.




Very happy with Quebec Solidaire lately, standing up for these immigrants is the right thing to do and I don't see any other party standing up. While I don't think that the QS' main motivation for this is vote getting (I honestly believe they're doing this out of conviction) I hope some allophones and recent immigrants will see this and at least consider giving QS a second look.


I attended the rally and march in support of Venezuela on Saturday afternoon (2-4 pm). It was enthusiastic, though not well attended (maybe 50-60 in all) - publicity and mobilization weren't very good, sadly. Andrés Fontecilla was one of the speakers, when we ended up in front of Complexe Guy-Favreau, as was Yves Engler, and others. What time was the QS rally on immigration? I wish everyone could get their act together, especially in these dangerous times.


This was very disappointing and calls into question QS claims of being non-racist. 


In an interview last week, Emilise Lessard-Therrien said she was afraid of Chinese investors purchasing agricultural land in Quebec.

"Between you and me, we call them predators,” she said. “They are agricultural land predators, and we see them" -- even as she admitted that "they have not yet bought land, because there are federal mechanisms that prohibit it."

Lessard-Therrien said that as global warming threatens agriculture, China is looking to buy foreign land including in Quebec as a possible way to secure its food supply, adding that "land that belongs to China will never being used to feed Quebecers."

"This is totally fake news being spun by a political party. It's totally shocking to me," said May Chiu of the group Progressive Chinese of Quebec.

"I'm an attorney, so the first thing I did was to look at the law. I have it right in front of me, and the law, the acquisition of farmland by non-residents, and under Quebec law non-residents are not allowed to purchase agricultural land except with special authorization of a government commission. And even Emilise Lessard-Therrien, she admitted it's not a problem that exists."

Chiu said that Lessard-Therrien was deliberately creating hateful messages not based in reality.

"It's extremely irresponsible for a political party to take fake news and spin it, and racialize it, in order to create a minority enemy, an ethnic enemy," said Chiu. “The way that she describes Chinese investors - they're lurking among us, we can smell them, we can feel them - it harkens back to the era 150 years ago, and images of the ‘yellow Chinaman, the yellow peril, the yellow menace,’” she said.

Quebec Solidaire co-spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois said Lessard-Therrien did not need to apologize and said her words were being taken out of context.

There is no context in which what she said was non-racist. Doctors, police, lawyers and politicians. They all have more loyalty towards their tribes than they do towards the people they are supposed to be serving.

QS did not have the integrity to admit what was said was racist regardless of intention. Very disappointing. 

swallow swallow's picture

Poor reporting in that piece, though clearly Lessard-Therrien chose her words poorly. 

First, there's no link to the comments themselves, just a translation of one part of the comments. For the original, it's worth a look and read of the TVA coverage, which makes it clear that the QS critic for agriculture is talking about the need to preserve ownership of lands by people who live in communities, and avoiding their sale to large multinational corporations. She speaks of land-grabbing, climate change, and food sovereignty, and of the need to resist efforts by big foreign companies (the predators in question, yes, some of them Chinese-owned) to buy up agicultural lands. Anyone living in rural Quebec knows that the defence of local ownership laws is important and that the actual government is one with symapthy for loosening the laws to allow more agribusiness. 

Manon Masse spells out the QS position well in TVA's coverage. Selon certain.e.s babblers, il faut qu'on utilise le francais ici de temps en temps, donc, je laisse le citation en francais: 

«Oui, nous, à Québec solidaire ça nous préoccupe, et pas juste les investisseurs chinois, qu’ils viennent de n’importe où sur la planète. Notre préoccupation, c’est de dire qu’est-ce qu’on fait avec notre terre agricole», a indiqué Manon Massé. 


On peut egalement ecouter les propos de Mme Lessard-Therrien elle-meme. She is clearly not referring to Chinese-Canadians, but to businesses owned by investors in China. 

Roughly, Masse says that potential land alienation concerns QS, and that isn't just about Chinese investors, it's investors from anywhere in the world. QS is concerned with talking about what to do with agricultural lands. 

I think that May Chiu (the critic, and a former QS candidate herself, in Outremont) has a good proposal when she talks about inclusivity training for young QS deputies. (Full disclosure, I quoted her a while back on the dangers of the Option Nationale merger.) And I'd add that in talking about agricultural land, QS needs to put food sovereigty together with First Nations and Inuit sovereignty more than it does. Still, the original source does not say what the CTV article claims it does.

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

I wouldn't call out the Chinese only. Take our housing crisis. We can stop the bleeding really quick if there was a law prohibiting non-citizens from buying any real estate in Canada. Doesn't matter if you're American,Chinese,Indian or British.

A lot of countries in Europe have these laws. Time for Canada to join them.

I think QS should be aggressive with these kinds of issues. It wouldn't and doesn't make them racists.


Land ownership, food sovereignty, are valid topics but from what I read we already have a law against foreign ownership. Is that under threat? Are the Chinese trying to change the law?

I would like to see the original quote.   Assuming these investors exist and some of them are Chinese does not excuse the following:

The way that she describes Chinese investors - they're lurking among us, we can smell them, we can feel them

The above has not been denied. Are there some Chinese investors/corporations lobbying for a change in laws? Are they using fake companies to hide behind? Is there any evidence at all that our agricultural land is in any way threatened by Chinese investors?

You say there are others. Why single out the Chinese then?  If her point was about keeping ownership local then that is what she should have focused on because it doesn't appear to have anything to do with Chinese investors. 

voice of the damned


Is the italicized paragraph in your post above a quote, or a paraphrase? And if it's a quote, who is speaking?


swallow swallow's picture

Hi Pondering. You can google Lessard and Vie Agricole for the interview. We are talking about a pretty obscure agricultural YouTube channel here. The last few minutes, after the 19:00 mark, are the original source. She speaks about land being bought up by large entrepreneurs in China that then pay min wage to those who work the land. In the context of food sovereignty, she speaks about there being much pressure from some China-owned enterprises in Quebec and Temiskaming in particular for access to water resources and land ownership, despite federal laws preventing sale for the moment. It is these companies, not all Chinese people, who she calls predators, pushing for access that they can’t yet obtain. Here is a young activist in full rhetorical flight. But clearly (from watching the interview) she knows the files and her region better than you or I. I see an activist speaking about food sovereignty and land rights and corporate rule, not a racist screed. Others can watch and make up their own minds. Or, they can just accept the word of a lazy report from CTV English Montreal that has not done it basic research. 

voice of the damned


So was May Chiu distorting Lessard-Therrien's message when she said...

"It's extremely irresponsible for a political party to take fake news and spin it, and racialize it, in order to create a minority enemy, an ethnic enemy," said Chiu. “The way that she describes Chinese investors - they're lurking among us, we can smell them, we can feel them - it harkens back to the era 150 years ago, and images of the ‘yellow Chinaman, the yellow peril, the yellow menace,’” she said.







The CAQ government is attacking immigrants, using typical racist themes. Only Québec Solidaire stood tall and mobilized against the attempt to scrap 18,000 applications. After last weekend's QS rally, the government suffered an initial defeat in the courts yesterday:

Court orders temporary halt to Quebec's plan to toss out 18,000 immigration applications

... and some people are scraping the bottom of the barrel to accuse QS of being anti-Chinese racists? Yellow peril?

Having said that, Émilise Lessard-Therrien seems to be an idiot. She, or QS, should either clarify her bizarre remarks, or assign her somewhere where she can listen and learn.

EDITED: Swallow's reply below was persuasive and progressive - so I changed my view! But decided to leave the above as a reminder not to give quick opinions based on partial thinking.

swallow swallow's picture

VotD, I think May Chiu is basically correct in her overall message; my concern is that an anglo emdia source is disorting a story for clicks. Chiu says that some training on how to avoid this sort of language is needed. It is. QS can up its game on inclusion, where it is far and away the best party in Quebec. It needs to think about integrating land rights and food sovereignty with First Nations and Inuit sovereignty, not treat them as separate dossiers. 

I do not think this deputy is an "idiot." She is a good young activist with strogn roots in her community and an awareness of non-urban Quebec that the party lacks. She does need to learn a lot about anti-racism and using care when referirng to multinational companies from China as "les chinois." But so do lots of people in their twenties. And thirties, and forties, and fifities, and on. 

voice of the damned

swallow wrote:

VotD, I think May Chiu is basically correct in her overall message; my concern is that an anglo emdia source is disorting a story for clicks. Chiu says that some training on how to avoid this sort of language is needed.

Well, reading her comments, it seems to me that Chiu is going well beyond saying that Lessard-Therrien needs to clean up her language. It sounds like she's saying that Lessard-Therries was deliberately promoting racism.

"It's extremely irresponsible for a political party to take fake news and spin it, and racialize it, in order to create a minority enemy, an ethnic enemy," said Chiu.

Maybe there's some context here I'm missing? The idea of "a political party" "racializ[ing]" an issue "in order to create... an ethnic enemy" is referring to some other party? Or just a hypothetical situation?

FWIW, I doubt that this reflects much, if at all, on QS as a whole.