Québec solidaire changes strategy

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Québec solidaire (QS) has chosen to review its priorities in the face of the crisis caused by the pandemic. Nearly 200 delegates gathered in an extraordinary – and virtual – national council agreed on Saturday to abandon the “Ultimatum 2020” campaign, the aim of which was to demand a credible action plan to combat climate change, to ask leaders of the party to propose a plan for a “fair and green” recovery in the face of the crisis.

“They gave us an ambitious mandate, as always, to create an emergency plan to put Quebec back on track,” reacted the co-spokesperson for solidarity, Manon Massé, at a press briefing at the end of the meeting. the encounter.

“Listen, we can confirm to you now that there will be no parliamentary blockage,” she added. Our members rejected this approach, but on the other hand, we have three main priorities which can guide both the parliamentary wing and all the work. [sur le] land that they also invited us to do. “

The delegates agreed to orient the party’s message around the three priorities that had been proposed to them: the defense of public services, the ecological transition and the fight against inequalities. However, they asked their elected officials to mobilize the population around concrete measures that could be immediately implemented by the Government of Quebec and to accord an equivalent place to the issues of rural regions and those of large urban centers.

The first milestone of this new political action will be the tabling of a bill at the start of the parliamentary term on Tuesday to establish Pharma-Quebec, a new state-owned company whose mandate would be to ensure Quebec’s medical self-sufficiency. . “If we had to take a single example of a long-standing solidarity project of which the pandemic has demonstrated the absolute necessity, it is this one”, declared Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, parliamentary leader of the party, in his speech to activists. This was one of QS’s promises during the last election campaign, in 2018.

Mr. Nadeau-Dubois recalled that the project, first mentioned by the former co-spokesperson for the Amir Khadir party, was not taken seriously at the time. “Reality erupted in the face of our detractors last spring,” he said. Ten years later, where were all these people when Quebec ran out of masks, gowns and gloves? Where were these people when, in Quebec, we came close to a drug shortage in our hospitals? “

He argued that such a crown corporation, dedicated to the purchase of drugs and the research, development and production of generic drugs, could generate savings of $ 2 billion per year in Quebec. “It is a lot of money which, instead of going to enrich the big pharmaceutical companies, would remain in Quebec and with which we could finance our public services, in particular our health network”, he affirmed in point. Press.

Critical activists

A few hours earlier, QS leaders had come under criticism from party members for lacking firmness towards the Legault government during the pandemic. “The first person I heard to pull over completely behind [le premier ministre, François] Legault is [la co-porte-parole de QS] Ms. Massé and that shocked me deeply, ”said activist Julien Daigneault.

“We have 24,000 members, I’m sure we have more imagination than that! […] Are we going to have a more aggressive attitude towards the management disaster of the Coalition Avenir Québec? »He continued.

Several echoed these words, sometimes by being very harsh towards members of Parliament. “Missed opportunities”, “zero visibility”, “absence of deputies on the ground”, the accusations were immediately launched with the microphones open. At the height of the COVID-19 crisis, Quebeckers only had eyes and ears for François Legault, who was increasing public health instructions, noted Manon Massé.

“We were very nice to the CAQ,” said Molly Alexander. I understand that there was a fear of looking bad, but at the same time, it took us a while to react with concrete proposals. “

Both Manon Massé and Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois tried to calm things down by recalling that the deputies had defended all kinds of causes, both in parliament and in their constituencies. The pandemic, however, made work difficult due to the media attention that was being given to the Legault government’s measures to deal with it.

“Bottom line, I think our other members agreed […] that we had taken the right posture, not for lack of radicalism, on the contrary, but because when the planet is in a pandemic, well maybe you have to moderate your transport a little ”, defended Manon Massé in press briefing.

The environmental question remains

Even if it has put aside its “Ultimatum 2020”, QS wants to continue to encourage the government to adopt policies to fight against climate change.

“The climate issue, the environmental issue, we will approach it in a new context, that of economic recovery,” explained Mr. Nadeau-Dubois. Then, we will conduct the debate with the Coalition d’avenir Québec: what type of economic recovery do we want? Do we want a recovery that accelerates the climate crisis or slows it down? “

Last year, QS donated until 1is October 2020 to the Legault government to present a credible and effective action plan to fight climate change. If it failed the test, the government would suffer the systematic parliamentary obstruction of the solidarity groups, who fully intended to use all the means at their disposal to block the adoption of bills and hinder work.

With The Canadian Press

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