Despite the crisis, Françoise David feels a “desire for unity” at QS.


Despite the crisis, Françoise David feels a “desire for unity” at QS.

Photo: Valérian Mazataud archive Le Devoir “I am confident that collective wisdom and the desire for unity will prevail in Saguenay. For Quebec,” writes Françoise David in a letter to QS activists in Le Devoir.

The crisis at Québec Solidaire (QS) will not lead to divisions within the party, predicts Françoise David. In a letter to activists, the former Solidarity spokesman calls on the political party to “walk and chew gum at the same time” and imagine itself “as an elected government” while having the courage to “challenge preconceived notions.”

The letter, published on the pages of DevoirOn Thursday he encouraged members, who will meet at the National Council in Jonquière at the end of May, to find a “way through” the unrest currently rocking the party. “I am confident that collective wisdom and the desire for unity will prevail in Saguenay. For Quebec,” writes Gouin’s former elected representative.

The text – “long thought over” according to Ms David – is intended to be a response to those who believe the party will emerge in poor shape from the events that have rocked it for more than two weeks. The former Solidarity spokeswoman makes no secret of this: the “public crisis that is shaking Québec Solidaire” has “affected” and “really worried” her, she said in an interview with LeDuty. However, she refuses to believe in an “exodus” of activists after the debates in Saguenay.

“I feel it, the desire for unity,” she notes.

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QS is affected by the departure of co-speaker Émilise Lessard-Therrien and will face important decisions during its National Council in ten days. Earlier this month, the party's male co-spokesman, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, presented a proposal to modernize the party's constitution and program. Their goal: to make QS a “government party”.

However, not all solidarists agree on the path to take. Last week, a letter notably co-signed by former MP Catherine Dorion condemned the election of the GND's “fearful left”. Then, on Monday, 80 activists, including several senior former members of the party, added their names to a text supporting the MP's “pragmatic” turn for Gouin.

“I’m not on either side.”

The speaker from 2006 to 2017, Françoise David, assures that she does not want to play the mother-in-law. Since she is allergic to “settling scores,” she will not choose sides in this matter. “I’m not on either side,” she says on the other end of the phone.

However, “Quebec only deserves to see its left-wing party unite by finding ways that are satisfactory to the majority of members,” Ms. David claims.

“Of course we must engage in and with social movements, dare to challenge preconceptions, pursue paths marked by feminist reflection, but also work with determination and patience within an elected parliament,” she wrote in her Letter.

Therefore, in order to “imagine and prepare for the elected government”, the members of the party will benefit from a “revisit”. […] Positions that could be improved without cutting everything, thinking about new themes and introducing ways of working that combine democracy and efficiency », affirms the former elected official.

“Yes, there are big challenges for QS,” she agrees.

The training's National Coordination Committee (CCN) – which includes the two speakers – is proposing that members vote on the “Saguenay Declaration” at their meeting at the end of May. This document, which represents the culmination of the party's journey through the regions, breaks with several historical positions of QS, for example on forestry or on the agricultural union, in order to “unite, not divide”.

A second document put to the vote also suggests that the left-wing political party should adopt a program that is “much shorter and free of overly precise political commitments.”

Khadir does not believe in the “split”

Françoise David is not the only former speaker to comment on the unrest at Québec Solidaire. Amir Khadir, in turn, predicted “that there will be no division” in a Facebook post on Wednesday. “Even less a media “bloodbath”…” he writes.

“Despite the contrary interpretations that others than himself give about Gabriel's intentions, we will find a way to remain united in making common decisions on a strategic direction that belongs to the party as a whole,” he continues. “Not to the speakers or the NCC. »

Following Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois's plea for political “pragmatism,” some members of the current Quebec Solidaire group invited their parliamentary leader to clarify his thoughts. Others, including former speaker Manon Massé, had called on members who opposed it to come to Jonquière and debate it.

The Quebec Solidaire National Council will take place May 24-26. More than 200 people have already registered, and the party expects that number to grow.