The Canadian Party of Quebec is now a reality.
On Monday, the province’s newest political entity was launched in Montreal in hopes of winning seats in Quebec’s National Assembly this fall. For many, the new party is a sign that political change has begun in Quebec.
Chef Colin Standish said the aim was to get away from language debates.
“We were once notorious for our language divisions,” party leader Colin Standish told Global News. [The party] can say with one voice that there is one Quebec, one Quebecer and one Canada.
“We need a new political option on the table. The old parties, the old way of doing things don’t work anymore.
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The party is the last formed in recent months to present an alternative to the Liberal Party of Quebec.
“The Liberal Party of Quebec is going to chase after soft nationalist votes, and they won’t care about the concerns of English-speaking and ethnic communities,” argued Brent Tyler, former president of the now-defunct English-speaking lobby group Alliance Quebec.
The Canadian Party of Quebec listed six priorities as fundamental principles, including bilingualism.
“We certainly envision a bilingual Quebec,” Standish said at a press conference announcing the launch. “Obviously a French-speaking majority is not something we plan to change or modify.”
According to him, the party supports the promotion of the French language, but not at the expense of fundamental rights, which he believes Bill 96, the province’s new language law, does. So they want to get rid of the law.
Some have argued that Standish’s team is a new version of the Equality Party, formed in the late 1980s and seen by its critics as a protest party.
Former leader Robert Libman pointed out that in 1989, the political debate pitted one federalist party against another that wanted the separation of Quebec.
“Now there are a lot of parties on the political horizon,” he noted. “I think people can feel comfortable voting for an option that promotes individual rights and freedoms and unity.”
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Balarama Holness, who leads the Bloc Montreal, another party that once challenged the Liberals, believes having at least two parties posing as alternatives to the Quebec Liberals means one thing.
“He says that the liberal leadership of Dominique Anglade has failed to unite Anglophones and minorities,” he insisted.
Standish thinks having so many parties isn’t a problem.
“The arguments I’ve heard about vote splitting, about old parties deserving your vote, are fundamentally undemocratic,” he observed.
The party plans to announce candidates in the coming weeks.
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