For any of you who know my politics, you know that I’m progressive and ecologically-minded. I also tend to be pro-youth, pro-student, and pro-First Nations. So you’ve probably realized by now that there is no love lost between myself (a former student activist) and the Quebec Liberal Party. In fact, as a federalist, I’m quite proud to say that I’ve never voted for the QLP and have no intention ever of doing so. I wouldn’t feel sorry if that party disappeared tomorrow. I consider their showings in the last two Quebec general elections as a sort of payback for all the lousy things they’ve done to the voters down through the years.
Despite their disappointing 4th-place finish in the 2022 campaign, they still managed to pull off becoming the Official Opposition in the Quebec National Assembly, owing primarily to where the votes were concentrated. One can see why the QLP remains opposed to electoral reform. Had our electoral system been reformed, the QLP would have had even fewer seats than it does right now. Official Opposition status in the AssNat is a plum consolation for what was their worst vote-count showing since the days of Le Grand noirceur.
That said, I have to hand it to the current QLP leader, Dominique Anglade, for attempting to chart a new, perhaps necessary, course going forward. For sure, the knives have already come out for her, and many of those knives are held by party members from the time of Mr. Austerity (Philippe Couillard) or Corrupto the Clown (Jean Charest) – in other words, people who have no right to complain about the faux-pas or the failings of others. Despite the fact that these detractors have spoken to the press under condition of anonymity, Anglade has since received open and public support from two new Members of National Assembly, and I’m convinced that there are other MNAs who will follow suit. Anglade may yet survive a leadership review.
In my opinion, Dominique Anglade is exactly the sort of leader to take the QLP into a new era. However, she must do more than survive and win: She must also finish the sort of job started by former QLP Premier Jean Lesage in the 1960s and permanently re-orient the QLP to her vision, giving it new legs to run on. Anglade is smart, articulate, approachable. And she listens. She believes she has a vision, one from which the QLP could benefit, making it fresh to the voting public.
Of course, all this will never happen.
It’s not that the QLP doesn’t have the wherewithal to completely pull itself from the political quagmire it has put itself in. As humans, we all have the capacity to do better, and to be better than we are, despite what others would tell us. Ironically, this is one of the ideas behind which liberal parties formed mainly in the 19th Century. I say ironically because it is highly unlikely that the QLP will heed one of its founding ideas – instead, it will continue to slide into irrelevancy.
In this slide, the QLP will dump Anglade and then choose a leader who they think will get them not only more votes but into government. This is a bad attitude. Should the next leader not succeed à l’Anglade, then they will go through the whole pathetic process anew, pitifully thrashing about while other, newer parties continue to rise in popularity.
Even more perilous is the idea of losing voters who would have voted for the QLP given normal circumstances but after two or three elections no longer have either reason or incentive to vote for a party which will have become pathetic, pitiful, ridiculous.
If the powers within the QLP actually demonstrated a capacity to learn from their mistakes and do better, they would keep Dominique Anglade as their leader and let the future unfold as it should. Sad to say, the QLP will never do this, as their own arrogance blinds them. The QLP will simply revert to its mean old self, no matter how and when Anglade departs.