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Crisis in the PLQ | New salvo against Anglade

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“It’s clear” that the leader must leave, pleads the former Liberal minister Nicole Ménard

(Quebec) The challenge to Dominique Anglade’s leadership continues even though, for the first time in a week, members of the Liberal caucus have gone to the front to reiterate their support.

Minister under Jean Charest, president of the caucus under Philippe Couillard and chief whip after the 2018 elections, Nicole Ménard maintains that the time has come for Dominique Anglade to leave her post.

“It is clear” in her eyes that she is no longer fit to lead the Liberal Party of Quebec (PLQ). “I find it appalling, terrible, what is happening. We no longer recognize ourselves” in the party, says Nicole Ménard, who was MP for Laporte, in Montérégie, for 15 years before leaving politics this year. The expulsion of MP Marie-Claude Nichols is the straw that broke the camel’s back, according to her.

“It’s a disappointment, it’s disappointing and it’s sad to die for. It’s a party in which I felt so comfortable,” she says, adding that she is “definitely not anymore.”

She now wants Dominique Anglade to make “the right decision”.

If my name was Dominique Anglade, I would know what to do: I would leave quite quickly. I wouldn’t wait to be told to leave. […] I would avoid being kicked out.

Nicole Ménard, former MP for Laporte, in Montérégie

Dominique Anglade says he intends to remain in office and to submit to the vote of confidence which must take place at the congress of members, within a year. She wants the exercise to take place as soon as possible, “sooner than later”, as she puts it.

An untenable position

For the former MP Raymond Bernier, who sat for a dozen years until 2018, Dominique Anglade is in the process of “a bit of martyring himself” by clinging to his post.


PHOTO ARCHIVES OF THE QUEBEC LIBERAL PARTY

Raymond Bernier, former MP for Montmorency, in the Capitale-Nationale region

“I think he is a person of good will, of good quality. I have a lot of esteem for her, but what do you want me to say to you… The population must be behind her and, above all, the activists must be behind her . And that’s not really the case, ”says Mr. Bernier, who participated in an activity of the leader in the Quebec region during the election campaign.

The former elected representative in Montmorency believes, however, that “even if she retires, no one is ready in the short term to take over the leadership”.

Therefore, “in the moment, it is not necessarily the time to remove it”, he analyzes.

Can she go up the coast as leader of the official opposition to face François Legault? Maybe that’s the question to ask. She thinks yes, but I don’t know.

Raymond Bernier, former MP for Montmorency

We can nevertheless give him a new “chance to demonstrate his abilities”, according to him. “We will see in six months what it will give. If nothing happens, the activists at the congress will vote and, unfortunately, that will be what will happen…”

Minister under Jean Charest and Philippe Couillard, Laurent Lessard believes that Dominique Anglade is still “capable of doing the job” even if she “had wrongs” and that she must “admit” them. Laurent Lessard believes that MP Marie-Claude Nichols should not have been excluded, but he especially blames the entourage of the chef for the management of this affair. “His team around should have settled that and the chef did not have to be exposed like that,” according to Mr. Lessard, who was MP for Frontenac for 15 years.

The historic electoral defeat is difficult to take, but the party was already “magane” before Dominique Anglade took office in 2020 and he did not have much media space during the pandemic, he observes.

“When you eat a beating and you are the official opposition despite everything, you have to organize yourself and prepare for the start of the school year. This is what the party must devote itself to, ”he adds. “It’s easier to try to keep a leader than to find a new one. It must not be knocking on doors these days to try to take its place! »

Possible successors

The Press reported Wednesday that former MPs and political staffers are looking for a new leader.

The same names always come up in discussions. Former minister Pierre Moreau refuses interview requests. Deputy André Fortin, who had given up for family reasons to be a candidate during the last leadership race, does not call back.

In private, Liberals are dreaming of Sophie Brochu, smelling an opportunity with her recent threat to resign and her conflict with Superminister Pierre Fitzgibbon. The Couillard government offered her the position of CEO of Hydro-Québec in 2015, years before the Legault government recruited her. She had replied to the Liberals that she enjoyed her duties at Gaz Métro – then in the process of transformation to become Énergir – and that the moment was therefore not propitious.

For his part, the former minister and deputy Pierre Arcand, who has already been interim leader and president of the caucus, refuses to comment on the leadership of Dominique Anglade. It limits itself to noting the damage caused by the Nichols affair. “I find that dramatic for a party which nevertheless has been important in the destinies of Quebec. It’s really a sad story, ”he drops.

Timid and belated support

No member of the caucus had gone to the front to support the leader in the last days. But on Wednesday, two new elected officials reiterated their confidence in him, while admitting their disappointment at the importance of the crisis which is shaking the party a few weeks before the start of the parliamentary term on November 29.

On the sidelines of a press briefing in downtown Montreal, which focused on the economic situation in Quebec, the party’s finance spokesperson, Frédéric Beauchemin, and his colleague on employment, Madwa-Nika Cadet, were bombarded with questions about the current conflict simmering in the PLQ. “We support our chef and we are here demonstrating support for our chef,” said Mr. Beauchemin. If they would have “liked that this whole situation had happened otherwise”, “it’s a little behind us”, argued Mme Cadet.


PHOTO ALAIN ROBERGE, THE PRESS

The new deputies Frédéric Beauchemin and Madwa-Nika Cadet during a press scrum on Wednesday.

Crossed in parliament, parliamentary leader Marc Tanguay said that his leader had his “full confidence”. Journalists have repeatedly asked him why he trusts him, without success. “She has my full confidence, Ms.me England. There is no doubt in my mind. As parliamentary leader, it is important to prepare for the start of the school year,” he said before turning on his heels.

With the collaboration of Vincent Larin and Charles Lecavalier, The Press



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