A critical conference of the English liberals

The author is the director of the public relations firm Navigator and Senior Fellow in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa.

Liberal Party activists in Quebec gather for a conference in Quebec this weekend. I will be here. For the first time, I will not attend a political conference as a journalist, but as an “observer”.

I am not active. If I’m thinking, if I still sometimes think of playing a role in discussing ideas within the PLQ, it’s not because of a taste for power. This is because I hold the future of liberal values ​​in Quebec at the core.

If the Liberal Party is the oldest political formation in our nation’s history, it is because liberal ideas have always been present and influential in Quebec. The continued existence of this movement has played a central role in our history. Particularly at all times, as today, when there was a wave of nationalism sweeping there, the liberals took care to prevent excesses, so that the fundamental rights of the inhabitants of Quebec, and Quebec’s place within the union, would be protected. Canada is secured and that its economy is to be preserved from excess control and bureaucracy. .

It is not about anti-nationalism. PLQ no longer has to prove its unwavering association with Quebec. It is a matter of taking the means to ensure that Quebec nationalism is exercised while respecting fundamental rights, as Quebecers themselves have always wanted.

Whatever the outcome of the upcoming local elections, that balance must remain healthy. Unless proven otherwise, only PLQ can maintain it. The combination of federalism, political liberalism and economic liberalism is the hallmark of the Liberal Party of Quebec. any exercise rebranding It would be futile and harmful.

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“Connection”

Some would like to see PLQ abandon its principles to “reconnect” with French-speaking voters. It is true that the Francophone liberal vote was partly hijacked by the CAQ. But liberals are not the only ones who have suffered from this phenomenon. If the Liberals receive voting intentions with only 10% of French speakers in Quebec (according to a recent Léger poll), the PQ receives 13% – we’re on the margins of error – and Solidarity groups 12%. Who is urging Quebec Solidere to “reconnect” with francophones?

Moreover, the Liberal Party remains the political formation where the vast majority of Anglophones and Allophones feel very welcome. It’s a strength, not a flaw.

As a sympathetic liberal observer, I hope to see activists avoid sharp turns aimed at imaginary short-term gains. I hope to see them “connect” to the liberal values, which Kibbers have always been associated with, no matter what.

At the end of the week, I will be listening to discussions of ideas. In the General Council of the Cairo Center, last week, the entire book of resolutions was adopted without a single amendment. A good example of discipline! But in PLQ the fundamental thrusts of the party are at stake, and I hope this will be discussed, if not in the workshops, at least in the corridors. I am well aware that the media, for reasons I fully understand, searches for the slightest discussion, and finds evidence of “splits” there. But what is political formation if not where we should be able to debate ideas and make choices, according to our deepest values?

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moment of truth?

We often hear it said that activists in the Liberal Party think only of power, as if they were completely uninterested in promoting their ideas. I can’t believe it, and I hope to see at the end of the week a demonstration of a political party to life, a political party that exchanges, a political party that makes choices.

And the boss? According to the Canadian Press, the conference will be “a real moment for Dominic Engled.” I don’t know muchI Anglade, but I know she is a bright, resolute and resilient woman. Whether her weekend speeches are exceptional or good, I have no doubts that she will lead the liberal forces into the 2022 election.

However, mI Anglade is not alone. She is the head of a political formation who must support her with all his might, but must also brief her on the state of mind of the troops and dialogue with her. As a simple observer, I expect activists to support their leader, while reminding him that his number one duty is to promote liberal values.

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