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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:30 am    Post subject: Several longtime PQ mna's won't seek re-election Reply with quote

( the retirement bug has hit the PQ , with news that 4 or 5 veteran MNA's won't be running in this years provincial election , not good news for a party already struggling to be relevant and polling poorly )

Longtime PQ MNAs Cloutier, Leger won't seek re-election

The Parti Quebecois has lost three of its heavyweights after Alexandre Cloutier, Nicole Leger and Agnes Maltais all said they won’t run.

Peter Rakobowchuk, The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, January 16, 2018 10:07AM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, January 16, 2018 8:13PM EST

Parti Quebecois Leader Jean-Francois Lisee is not pressing the panic button after several prominent PQ members of the national assembly announced Tuesday they won't run in this year's provincial election.

Lisee was quick to point out that the majority of his caucus will stay on.

"At the beginning of an election year, it's the right moment, out of respect for the members and the party and voters in the riding, (for people) to lay their cards on the table and announce whether they intend to run," Lisee said.

Alexandre Cloutier
Alexandre Cloutier is among several Parti Quebecois MNAs who reportedly will not seek re-election in 2018.

"For me ... it's a gesture of respect."

Longtime politicians Alexandre Cloutier, Nicole Leger and Agnes Maltais said they will serve the rest of their mandates but won't be candidates for the Oct. 1 election.

Cloutier, 40, who sought the PQ leadership twice in recent years, said he is not excluding a return to politics in the future but that his enthusiasm has faded as of late.

He was first elected in 2007.

Leger, 62, who was first elected in a Montreal riding in 1996, fought back tears as she announced her departure. Maltais, 61, is leaving politics after 20 years.

Some published reports Tuesday suggested several other longtime PQ members are also weighing their political futures.

The PQ currently holds 28 seats in the 125-member legislature, which is controlled by the Liberals, who hold 68 seats.

The Coalition Avenir Quebec has 21 seats, while the sovereigntist Quebec solidaire has three.

There are five Independent members of the legislature.

Philippe Fournier, who runs the poll-aggregating blog Qc125.com, says it doesn't look good for the PQ at the moment.

He analyzed a long list of polls which indicate the PQ has lost points "left and right" since last spring.

"There's months and months of data that show us that the PQ is going toward a disaster in October," he told The Canadian Press.

'The last projection that I calculated in December had the PQ at around 22 per cent of the popular vote and, with that 22 per cent, the average number of seats was 18."

"If the PQ continues to slide and goes to 21, 20 or 19 per cent, you could have the PQ struggling to get to the 12-seat threshold -- the threshold to be an official party at the national assembly."

As for the next provincial government, Fournier said a minority Liberal government is plausible, but is not the likeliest outcome.

"If you ask me what the most likely scenario is, it would be a (Coalition) minority with the Liberals as the official opposition, but if the (Coalition) let slip "a few votes here and there, we could have a very weak Liberal minority with 52-54 seats."

In a pitch to soft nationalists, Lisee has said in the past he would not call a sovereignty referendum until at least the second mandate of a PQ government.

Harold Chorney, a political economist at Concordia University, suggests that's because Quebecers have other concerns right now.

"You've got people more worried about the economy, more worried about employment and prosperity, more worried about their children, the environment," he said in an interview.

"These are all competing concerns and sovereignty doesn't have the same allure that it once did. The generation of the sovereigntists was people from the '50s and '60s and that's now passing from the scene inevitably."

Several Liberals are also reportedly undergoing the same period of reflection as they consider whether they want to run again.

But, just like Lisee, Premier Philippe Couillard doesn't appear to be worried.

"Out of a caucus of 70, to have a few people thinking about their future, it's completely normal," he told reporters Tuesday.

"You know getting into politics in one's life is a tremendous commitment. . .it's a lot of sacrifice for yourself and your family," Couillard said. "Once you lose the energy. . .it's probably better for you to withdraw."

The Coalition isn't expected to lose anyone, member Simon Jolin-Barrette said Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Montreal Le Devoir said Francois Gendron, the dean of the national assembly, won't seek re-election. He was first elected in 1976 and has held his seat since.

The newspaper also said Claude Cousineau, another PQ veteran, will bow out.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PQ MNA Nicole Léger won't run for re-election: sources

Veteran Parti Québécois politician Nicole Léger will not be running in the 2018 general election.

Philip Authier, Montreal Gazette Philip Authier, Montreal Gazette
More from Philip Authier, Montreal Gazette

Published on: January 15, 2018 | Last Updated: January 15, 2018 9:35 PM EST

QUEBEC — Veteran Parti Québécois politician Nicole Léger will not be running in the 2018 general election.

Léger, the MNA for the Montreal riding of Pointe-aux-Trembles, is to make the announcement at a news conference in her riding Tuesday, sources confirmed Monday.

She was to inform her riding executive Monday evening.

Her decision followed a meeting of PQ leader Jean-François Lisée and top PQ brass Monday. They were huddled in a meeting all day to look at options for the struggling party.

First elected in a 1996 by-election, Léger is the party Treasury Board critic.

In the fall of 2015, Léger battled tongue cancer and recovered. Her decision does not appear to be health-related. It comes as the PQ is languishing in third place in public opinion polls with no sign of recovery in the short term.

It is unclear whether Léger is leaving or was pushed as the party struggles to renew itself before the Oct. 1 election.

Her Pointe-aux-Trembles riding is one of the few left on the island of Montreal still considered safe given the rise of Québec solidaire. Lisée needs a safe riding to woo any star candidate for the election. The name of former MNA Jean-Martin Aussant, who founded Option nationale, was floating Monday.

Léger is a PQ pillar. She is the daughter of former PQ MNA Marcel Léger and sister to Léger Marketing pollster Jean-Marc Léger.

In the 2005 PQ leadership race she supported Pauline Marois over candidate André Boisclair and briefly left politics after Boisclair won. She won the seat back for the PQ in 2008.

Parti Quebecois MNA François Gendron, walks back to his seat at members of the National Assembly pay him a tribute for being an elected member for the last 40 years, Tuesday, November 15, 2016 at the legislature in Quebec City. Gendron was elected in 1976 with the first Parti Quebecois government. Jacques Boissinot / THE CANADIAN PRESS

There were also several reports Monday that the dean of the National Assembly, PQ MNA François Gendron, will announce in February he will not seek another term. First elected in 1976, the 73-year-old has been in the legislature 42 years without interruption.

And Bertrand MNA Claude Cousineau is also said to be ready to call it quits.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The PQ has a problem: Everyone’s leaving the party

Konrad Yakabuski

Published 5 hours ago

Updated January 18, 2018

It is going to be a long year in Quebec politics. The province's first fixed-date election is more than eight months away, yet the unofficial campaign began in earnest this week as the sitting Liberals unveiled a slew of worker- and child-friendly measures. They thus hope to blur the memory of four years of austerity governance.

By loosening the purse strings and attempting to straddle the middle on economic issues between the leftish Parti Québécois and rightish Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ), the Liberals hope to make up for their inability to get on top of the intractable identity issues that dominate provincial politics.

On Wednesday, Premier Philippe Couillard's government announced the minimum wage will rise by 75 cents to $12 in May. The previous day, it unveiled a $1.4-billion package of measures to repair dilapidated schools, hire more teachers' aides and provide free breakfast to low-income elementary school students. Before that, it announced a $3-billion anti-poverty plan.

It is going to take a lot more than this to save the Liberals. Despite a balanced budget, decent economy and the country's second-lowest unemployment rate – an unprecedented 4.9 per cent in December – Mr. Couillard appears to be on his way to becoming a one-term premier.

If the downtrodden Liberals can take any consolation, it lies in the fact that their main nemesis for the past four decades is in even worse shape than them.

Under Leader Jean-François Lisée, the sovereigntist PQ promised not to hold a referendum on independence if it wins the next election. And ever since, it has seen its poll numbers sink to historic lows.

This has naturally led to an existential debate between those in the party who think that Mr. Lisée's soft-peddling on sovereignty is behind the PQ's more than 10-percentage-point slide in the polls in the past year, and those who argue that it is the shape-shifting leader's dog-whistle identity politics that has turned off younger Québécois.

The hardliners want nothing more than to see the return of Jean-Martin Aussant, a former MNA who quit the PQ in 2011 to found the even more hardline sovereigntist Option Nationale.

The latter merged in December with Québec Solidaire, the anti-capitalist party that has been eating into PQ support throughout the province but especially in east-end Montreal ridings. Mr. Aussant has so far been non-commital, although a couple of safe-ish PQ seats just opened up should he decide to run.

The standard-bearer for the more modern and inclusive PQ sought by younger Péquistes, Alexandre Cloutier, just voted with his feet. Twice a runner-up for the leadership – against the ephemeral Pierre Karl Péladeau in 2015 and then against the veteran Mr. Lisée in 2016 – Mr. Cloutier, 40, said on Tuesday that he had lost the "motivation" to continue the fight and would not seek re-election in October.

The same day, two more high-profile MNAs announced their departures and more are expected to follow. But Mr. Cloutier's move to quit politics – if only temporarily – is the harshest blow. It amounts to a repudiation of the direction in which Mr. Lisée has taken the party. He won the leadership, in part, by painting Mr. Cloutier as soft on religious fundamentalism. The PQ under Mr. Lisée has sought to outdo the arch-conservative CAQ on identity issues. It's not working.

Almost everybody who's anybody in Quebec politics thinks the CAQ will win the next election. That doesn't mean it will happen. But the zeitgeist is all about Quebeckers' fatigue with the traditional Liberal-PQ alternance. CAQ Leader François Legault, a former PQ minister who became independently wealthy as an original partner in Air Transat, practices a folksy brand of politics that relies heavily on exploiting fears about immigration and multiculturalism without sounding mean.

The small-government CAQ is also drawing support among business people who feel the Liberals have barely moved to reduce taxes, which remain the highest in North America. While the budget is balanced for now, Quebec's rapidly aging population means future governments are likely to confront structural deficits unless non-health-care spending is reined in. The CAQ gets this.

Recruiting big-name candidates from the business community has proved a tough slog for the CAQ, however. Mr. Legault hoped to lure RBC Capital Markets vice-chairman Michael Fortier to run. The former Conservative senator and cabinet minister under Stephen Harper took a pass on becoming finance minister in a first-ever CAQ government.

National Bank senior vice-president Éric Girard, who ran for the Conservatives in 2015 in the largely anglophone West Island riding of Lac-Saint-Louis, also said no to the CAQ. He would have been a shoo-in for a senior economics portfolio in a Legault government.

Still, it's only January in what is going to be the longest year yet in Quebec politics.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Analysis: Lisée shrugs off doomsayers as three PQ MNAs announce plans to retire from politics

A wave of resignations swept through the Parti Québécois Tuesday with three party stalwarts, two of whom are in PQ fortress ridings, announcing plans to retire from politics at the end of the current mandate, which is in nine months

Philip Authier, Montreal Gazette Philip Authier, Montreal Gazette
More from Philip Authier, Montreal Gazette

Published on: January 16, 2018 | Last Updated: January 16, 2018 8:19 PM EST

QUEBEC — The good news is they all did it on the same day, which means the painful exercise is over and done with.

The bad news is that when you’re a party languishing in third place in public opinion with an election 10 months away, it reinforces the impression the ship is taking on water in a hurry and the crew is in a mad dash for the lifeboats.

A wave of resignations swept through the Parti Québécois Tuesday with three party stalwarts, two of whom are in PQ fortress ridings, announcing plans to retire from politics at the end of the current mandate, which is in nine months.

Now, there is an argument to be made in justifying the departures of two of them. Pointe-aux-Trembles MNA Nicole Léger and Taschereau MNA Agnès Maltais have both been in the political meat grinder for about 20 years.

Maltais’s retirement has been rumoured for months. As the lone PQ MNA in the Quebec City region, she faced a tough battle in 2018 to keep her seat in the face of a rising Coalition Avenir Québec.

“I’m burnt out,” Maltais, 61, told reporters called to her riding office in the St-Roch quarter of Quebec City. “My body is sending me signals. I can’t be a 92-per-cent Maltais. Less than 100 per cent is not my style.”

“It’s time to pass the torch,” said Léger, who grew up in the shadow of one of Quebec’s big political names, her dad, Marcel Léger — one of the first seven MNAs elected by the PQ in 1970. “It’s a personal decision.”

She insisted that despite the rumours the party wants her riding for a star candidate in the person of Jean-Martin Aussant, the former leader of Option nationale, nobody pushed her out.

An economist and sovereignty hardliner who quit the PQ when Pauline Marois was leader and refused to hold a referendum, Aussant is now working as executive director of the Chantier de l’économie sociale.

And Léger, who had a battle with tongue cancer in 2005, added she is feeling fine, too.

“My health is very good,” Léger said. “At 62, you can still do a lot of things.”

But the decision by Lac-St-Jean MNA Alexandre Cloutier, a two-time leadership candidate who lost to Pierre Karl Péladeau and Jean-François Lisée, to pack it in at age 41 raised eyebrows.

As one observer noted, Cloutier might have mustered a bit more energy to keep up the fight if the party was higher in the polls and his chance of once again becoming a cabinet minister in a ruling government was better.

That’s not what happened. Instead, Cloutier argued politics is no longer what it used to be and he wants out. Nasty partisan motivations, the new absolute that is to ‘win the day’ every day whatever the cost, saps your soul and kills initiative, he said at a news conference in Alma.

That explains why he started to have trouble facing the idea of getting into his car every Monday to drive all the way from Alma to Quebec City and join in the daily exercise in mudslinging the National Assembly has become.

Politics is a life at 200 kilometres an hour, he said, and it can’t be done, in his words, “on cruise control.”

“My enthusiasm, especially when I set out to cross la Réserve faunique des Laurentides to get to Quebec City, has crumbled,” said the Cambridge-educated constitutional lawyer.

“Frankly, I’m fed up with petty Quebec City games.”

On the other hand, Cloutier said it’s impossible to say at his age that he is done with politics for good.

“Politics is in my veins,” Cloutier said.

Left holding the bag Tuesday was Lisée, who attended two out of three of the news conferences (the PQ brass was unaware Cloutier was going to throw in the towel until the last minute).

The saving grace for Lisée is that none of the dearly departed blasted him or his leadership.

At the Maltais news conference, Lisée had an answer at the ready for those who said three departures (and possibly another three or four to come) in one day are a sure sign all hell has broken loose in the party and the PQ is doomed.

He invited pundits and social media doomsayers to revisit their opinions in the coming weeks when as many as eight Liberal MNAs are also expected to announce they, too, will not run again for various personal reasons.

“If the media use the word (disaster) when three PQ MNAs leave, what will it be when eight Liberals go,” Lisée asked. “I am curious.”

He added that January — especially January in an election year — is often the month for such decisions to be announced and all this has very little to do with the party standing or his leadership.

“For me, it’s a gesture of respect,” he said, noting it gives his party plenty of time to seek new candidates and prepare. “It’s the right time for people to announce their colours.”

As for Aussant making a possible return to politics and maybe mounting a leadership challenge against him, Lisée was not showing any concern.

In fact, there is speculation Aussant could help Lisée woo back sovereignists who have fled the PQ to Québec solidaire because of Lisée’s decision to shelve a referendum.

“The door is open,” Lisée said.

Also hovering in the wings in these times of PQ trouble is Péladeau, who has said in public he misses the political game now that he is back in the business of being the Quebecor media king. Many have noticed he has become increasingly active in social media during the last few months.

Lisée, however, had a rebuttal for those who said the PQ is headed for a crushing loss in 2018.

“The ability to underestimate the PQ is immeasurable,” Lisée said. “Being the underdog in this campaign is fine with us.”

But other departures are in the wings. PQ dean François Gendron, who has represented Abitibi-Ouest since 1976, will probably confirm in February he will not seek another term. Gendron is now 73 years old.

On his Facebook page Tuesday, Gendron — who has been elected 11 times — said “it’s entirely true that I have started a period of reflection,” but did not confirm a Le Devoir report he is done with politics.

It’s no secret that Bertrand PQ MNA Claude Cousineau has also decided to not run again, but he has not announced it yet.

And Rousseau MNA Nicolas Marceau is also mulling over the decision to pull the plug. A former PQ Finance minister, Marceau is bored to tears in the Opposition and could easily resume a life teaching.

A wave of departures is also expected in the Liberals. Three Quebec City MNAs — André Drolet (Jean-Lesage), Raymond Bernier (Montmorency) and Michel Matte (Portneuf) — might not run again given the strength of the CAQ.

The same can be said about Saint-Laurent MNA Jean-Marc Fournier, Côte-du-Sud MNA Norbert Morin and Westmount—Saint-Louis MNA Jacques Chagnon. Chagnon is speaker of the National Assembly.

Officials in the CAQ said Tuesday that to their knowledge, none of their MNAs are planning to leave.

On Wednesday, Lisée will try to get the PQ back on track by announcing Nathalie Leclerc, daughter of famed singer-songwriter-poet Félix Leclerc, will be the PQ candidate in the riding of Charlevoix—Côte-de-Beaupré.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How many of them will be BQ candidates next year?

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cosmostein wrote:
How many of them will be BQ candidates next year?

I don't think any plan to run for the Bloc , other than Martine Ouellet who is sitting as an independent in the quebec legislature

most of these MNA's are in there 60's or 70's and seem to be retiring from politics

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 2:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This sagging popularity of the nationalist vote has been going on since the demonstrations in Quebec City, way back ... when Lucien Bouchard was premier. The province tried to embarrass Canada by organizing demonstrations demanding a seat at the table for Quebec. There was a crowd there, and it seemed to be happening. Chretien responded by putting a fence around that quarter of the city.

And then the American kids showed up, with their puppets and magic crystals, and guess what? It changed overnight to a protest against international corporations.

If you are a young quebecois, with a skill, you look at this issue, and ask: do I want to be a separate country of 5 or 6 million like Honduras? Or do I want to be a significant part of a G-7 nation, in NATO and having some heft?
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Several longtime PQ mna's won't seek re-election

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