LAC-BEAUPORT — The Quebec Liberal Party denies it is running behind in the run-up to a byelection in Saint-Henri—Sainte-Anne to replace former leader Dominique Anglade.
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Arriving at his pre-session caucus meeting Tuesday in Lac-Beauport, interim leader Marc Tanguay said “many candidacies” are being analyzed and he is “very confident” the selected candidate will win for the Liberals in the riding.
In October, Anglade won the riding with 36.15 per cent of the vote, versus 27.72 per cent for Québec solidaire. She resigned the next month after it became clear her continued leadership of the party was untenable.
The neighbouring riding of Verdun, long a Liberal stronghold, fell to Québec solidaire in the election, as did the northern Montreal riding of Maurice-Richard.
Québec solidaire is planning for a fight for the riding, with lawyer Guillaume Cliche-Rivard trying again to win it. He has already begun campaigning, though an election date has not yet been set.
Speaking to journalists, Tanguay accused QS leader Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois of “doublespeak” in defending rights, noting that it voted in favour of Bill 96 restricting language rights and invoking the notwithstanding clause to protect the bill from judicial oversight.
Tanguay, who called the blanket use of the clause excessive, said he welcomes the plan of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to ask the Supreme Court to look into how provinces use the notwithstanding clause pre-emptively in legislation.
“I don’t want to live in a Quebec without a charter (of rights),” Tanguay said.
The Quebec Liberals’ 19 MNAs are planning to focus their work on three E’s — economy, environment and energy — when the National Assembly resumes Jan. 31.
Asked about the party’s poor performance in the last election, Tanguay said MNAs have resolved to “simplify the message.”
Anglade’s Project Eco “was very difficult to translate in a few seconds or a few minutes,” Tanguay said. To get Quebecers back on side, the party needs to not just reach a well-considered proposal, but “be able to explain it.”
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