The attempt of the 42 constituency associations to pre-empt the holding of a vote of confidence in the leader of the Bloc québécois, Martine Ouellet, has failed.
The delegates of the party assembled on Sunday at a general council in Drummondville have selected the proposal of the chief and the national office for this vote to take place by universal suffrage on June 1st and 2nd, and with a referendum on the mission of the Bloc québécois as a promoter of Quebec independence.
The delegates passed the threshold of 50 % + 1 vote called by Ms. Ouellet. The forty associations proposed to raise this threshold to 75 %.
These district associations suggested that the vote of confidence took place on 15 may, two weeks earlier, and that the proposal of referendum, the national office is cancelled. These associations had the support of the member of parliament and chairman of the party, Mario Beaulieu, formerly a faithful ally of Martine Ouellet. Their goal was to turn the page on the crisis engulfing the Bloc as quickly as possible to then be able to rally the seven members dissenting.
The leadership of Martine Ouellet has been called into question repeatedly after the departure of seven deputies dissidents, but the latter has always refused to resign. According to her, the crisis is rather due to an internal conflict between two interpretations of the mission of the Bloc québécois, either as a promoter of the independence or as a defender of Quebec interests.
About 200 activists bloquistes are gathered in a general council to Drummondville to choose a way out of the crisis that has engulfed the party since that seven of its ten members bloquistes have slammed the door, two months ago.
Attack against the seven dissidents
The leader of the Bloc québécois Martine Ouellet has accused the seven deputies dissidents on Sunday have fueled a “fake news” about her, and to be ‘in rupture with internal democracy” of the party.
From the outset, the leader has attacked the seven dissidents, and then stretched hand.
“These seven who resigned, what they have done to us, they made us to fall now and we have put time on governance rather than putting in the time to advance and to radiate the Bloc québécois”, she denounced, which triggered a round of applause.
She chides them for having made a diversion with the debate surrounding the attack on his personality and his leadership style, maintaining falsehoods reported in the media.
“For workers, the public debate, to say that they found that their leader talks too much independence – a leader of the independence party -, it is not very chic, this is a little embarrassing, she said. At that time, they have made a diversion and there you have seen the debate has focused on my personality, my leadership style.”
“I can tell you that it is not easy to live with when we hear in the media, fictional stories, falsehoods that are repeated ad nauseam, of “fake news,” she continued. Sometimes, we should perhaps not draw inspiration from what is happening south of the border.”
The chief has defended itself to be inflexible and controlling, and has instead stated that it required the rigour. It has chafed the passage the ex-chief bloquiste, Gilles Duceppe, “recognized to control the party with an iron fist, no velvet glove” and of having imposed its own team of parliamentary after his return to the head of the party in 2015, a way of making “undemocratic”.
The crisis is rather due to a power struggle recurring between “proactive” and ” sitters “, she argued.
She called on the delegates to reconfirm the mission of the Bloc québécois as a promoter of independence ” in all forums “.
“Support for independence has stagnated and even regressé, this is not what we want, she pointed out, referring to the last 20 years. I think that as pro-independence movement, there is something that we missed. We don’t want it to shrink support, we want that to advance and it will not advance if we don’t talk about it.”
Martine Ouellet ended his speech with a call for solidarity, highlighting that the objective of independence for Quebec ” is more important than our personal egos “.
“I hold out my hand. I stretch my hand to resign. I hold out my hand to Mario [Beaulieu], because it is adding up that we will be stronger, not by resigning, not by dividing, not by rejecting it,” she said.
Tensions were vivid at the beginning of the general council and the journalists could hear loud voices through the walls during the debate behind closed doors.
Activists have inveighed mp and chairman of the party, Mario Beaulieu, accusing him of being ” a putschiste and promote the dictatorship. They did not agree on the choice of a chairman for the meeting. Mr. Beaulieu suggested Martin Beaudry, while the clan of Martine Ouellet favored Louis Roy.
“I refuse coups, casting, exclaimed the mp Marilène Gill at the microphone, addressing to the colleague. The votes where it allows us to offer a first and a president who has no bias! So, I hope that the tone will be given. What we want is a democracy!”
The vice-president of the party, Kédina Fleury-Samson, then suggested the holding of a closed session in order to avoid that the media will attend the washing of dirty linen in public. The proposal was adopted and all the journalists had to leave the room.
A press officer of the party has subsequently confirmed that it was Mr. Beaudry has been chosen as the president of the assembly by the delegates.
In his opening speech a little earlier, Mr. Beaulieu had launched a message of unity in calling on members to gather.