November 29, 2022 - No. 50

 43rd Legislature of Quebec's National Assembly Convenes

Social Responsibility in the Wake of
Quebec Election Results

– Pierre Soublière –

No to the Use of Force and Positions of Privilege to Resolve
Political Problems! 

– Pierre Chénier –

Agreement Between the Parties of the National Assembly on the Status and Conditions of the Parties for the Parliamentary Session

• Letter from PQ Leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon

 43rd Legislature of Quebec's National Assembly Convenes

Social Responsibility in the Wake of
Quebec Election Results 

– Pierre Soublière –

Today, November 29, Quebec's National Assembly will begin the first session of its 43rd Legislature, following the October 3 general election. The agenda the government of François Legault pursues by using his majority to do whatever the private interests he serves want, makes the people's absence of political power in their own hands a major issue of concern.

Right from the start of its "Election Night" program, when Radio-Canada announced that the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) would form a majority government, an atmosphere of triumphalism was created. It was as if life itself began and ended with this electoral fraud. To achieve this, journalists continued to ignore reality and pursued their disinformation campaign.

For example, on election night, some repeated how Quebeckers had appreciated the CAQ's "management of the pandemic." Radio-Canada journalists did not even mention that a Radio-Canada investigation into the McKinsey consulting firm revealed that this company "managed" pandemic funds right into its own pockets and, for all intents and purposes, set government policy on how to "manage the pandemic."

The Marxist-Leninist Party of Quebec (PMLQ) contributed in this election by making the voice of the working class and people heard, making their demands the engine of democratic renewal so as to humanize the social and natural environment, stop paying the rich and increase investment in social programs. The PMLQ has been very present on the issues of the day, dealing with them as they are, in a practical political way, whether on the question of succession of the monarchy, on the environment, or the living and working conditions of the people of Quebec.

The view that the ruling elites and their media seek to impose is that the people have had their chance to have a say -- as in "the people have spoken" -- and they will have to now "put up and shut up" for four years. But in its plans to pay the rich and put Quebec's human and natural resources at their disposal, the Legault government is already up against the will of working people, for whom finding solutions to the problems they face is a matter of life and death, a matter of securing a future for themselves and their children as communities, as one great humanity. Our future truly lies in defending the rights of all.

The concerns and demands of the people of Quebec will not hibernate for four years. The PMLQ will ensure that they are heard, that the movement of the people speaking in their own name develops into a mass democratic opposition that will assert the people's birthright to take the decisions which affect their lives. Only with this aim is it possible to avoid the pitfalls of animosity, diversions and division that the Legault government will sow as its pursues its nation-wrecking path.

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No to the Use of Force and Positions of Privilege to Resolve Political Problems! 

– Pierre Chénier –

Even before the Quebec National Assembly begins its first session on November 29, it faces serious problems which are a matter of concern for the Quebec polity. The President of the former Assembly issued an order to the Sergeant-at-Arms to use force to expel the three PQ Members of the National Assembly (MNAs) should they try to take their seats on the basis that it is their right to do so because they were elected by the people to represent them, not by Charles III, King of England to whom they refused to swear allegiance.[1]

The Parti marxiste-léniniste du Québec (PMLQ) reiterates that it is opposed to the use of force to solve political problems as well as the use of privileges to achieve self-serving results.

The PMLQ also opposes the opportunism of Québec solidaire (QS) which took the oath to the King in secret, behind the backs of the people and the media. By the looks of it, it did so in exchange for more time during Question Period and more money than it was given in the previous Legislature where it received more votes and a higher percentage of the votes cast. Whatever deal was reached with the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) which forms the government and the Liberal Party which forms the Loyal Opposition, it highlights how the system of King's democracy which dominates what are called the democratic institutions functions to keep the people out of power by conferring privileges to those who compromise their conscience in the name of high ideals. 

The use of prerogative powers to engage in making deals while threatening the use of force to deprive elected officials of their seats are matters of concern for the people of Quebec. Prerogative powers are police powers and problems which affect the polity cannot be settled on an unprincipled basis. Today, their use is purely in the service of narrow private interests and no collaboration in the name of high ideals will be seen to stand up for the claims of the people on the economy or to uphold their rights in any sphere of activity.

We urge all members of the National Assembly, regardless of their political affiliation, to oppose any attempt to prevent the members of the Parti Québécois from taking their seats. No to the use of force and privilege to deprive elected MNA's from taking their seats or to declare them to be "observers" in the National Assembly.

Current Sitting

Between now and February 1, Members of the National Assembly (MNAs) will only sit for eight days, with business ceasing on December 9 to make way for five days of constituency work following which the legislature will resume on January 31.


The composition of the National Assembly following the October 3 election is as follows:

Coalition Avenir Québec(CAQ): 90 MNAs

Quebec Liberal Party(PLQ): 20 MNAs

Québec Solidaire(QS): 11 MNAs

Parti Québécois(PQ): 3 MNAs

Independent: 1 MNA

The leader of the King's Loyal Opposition is interim leader of the PLQ Marc Tanguay who took over from Dominique Anglade who resigned following the October 3 election and will step down as MNA on December 1. A by-election will have to be held in the riding of Saint-Henri-Sainte-Anne where she was elected.[2]

The independent MNA is Marie-Claude Nichols, MNA for Vaudreuil, who was expelled from the PLQ caucus by then leader Dominique Anglade and refused to rejoin the caucus despite the request of interim PLQ leader Marc Tanguay.

Agreement on Parties' Status and Budget in the National Assembly

Prior to the new session of the National Assembly, secret negotiations were held to assign privileges and the Assembly's budget.

On the issue of status, the rules of the National Assembly specify that to be recognized as a parliamentary group, a political party must either have elected at least 12 members or received at least 20 per cent of the vote in the most recent general election. Only the CAQ and PLQ qualified.

Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) House Leader Simon Jolin-Barrette said an agreement was reached which grants Québec solidaire (QS) and the Parti Québécois (PQ) parliamentary group status, even though they did not meet the criteria. The agreement is supposed to be made public at the time of its submission to the National Assembly and be adopted through a vote at the beginning of the session.

The media dealt with the issue of differential party treatment as the result of democratic distortion through the current voting system, whereby a party with the same or an even higher number of votes than another can end up with far fewer MNAs.[3]

It is said that the rule of 20 per cent of the vote or 12 members of the National Assembly (MNAs) determining which will be a parliamentary group originates from a time when the National Assembly tended to be bipartite (an allusion to the QLP versus the PQ), when the division of the vote was different, and that therefore the rule should be changed so that it is less strict.

According to an article in Le Devoir, in the party politics of the National Assembly, there's a tendency towards bipartisanship. For instance, the CAQ would like to be dealing with QS, and to have each other as Quebec's two main political parties. Within that scenario, the PQ was already considered to have been dying, which is what the CAQ wanted, as the Liberal Party was in crisis and had become the party of anglophones. The CAQ and Québec solidaire may have been working to stop a PQ comeback.

In other words, it is possible that the CAQ and the QS are working towards the disappearance of the PQ. Others are talking about the need to find some form of unity in action between the QS and the PQ to give a renewed sense of purpose to the independence movement, which is now clearly not happening because QS hung the PQ out to dry. Meanwhile, the divisions between these two parties are used to push people towards the nationalism of the CAQ by saying that it is the party that should remain in power to represent the Quebec nation.

It is clear that in this historical turning point, the Quebec people need political forces that put forward a clear nation-building project which has social content which serves the interests of the people and political content which vests the decision-making power in the people, not the rich.


1. This former President did not even present himself as a candidate in the last election and therefore tenders his resignation when the session begins.

2. Since she has decided not to keep her seat, the PLQ should be deprived of all the money which will be paid by the state for the number of eligible voters in her riding.

3. In the October 3 election, the Conservative Party of Quebec had nearly the same number of votes as the PLQ, QS and PQ but got no seats. For seat distribution and number of votes received, see TMLD October 4, 2022.

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Agreement Between the Parties of the National Assembly on the Status and Conditions of the Parties for the Parliamentary Session

On November 25, the media reported that an agreement had been reached between the four parties represented in the National Assembly defining their status and conditions for their work and distributing privileges during the parliamentary session that begins on November 29. It should be noted that the Conservative Party of Quebec, which garnered 12.92 per cent of the vote but failed to have any candidates elected, was not part of these negotiations and this agreement.

The agreement determines such things as party status, budgets, privileges and the number of questions each party can ask the government in the House each week.

Following the meeting held on November 25 where the leaders of the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ), Quebec Liberal Party (PLQ) and Québec Solidaire (QS) are said to have sealed the fate of the Parti Québécois (PQ), the media reported the following statements:

Simon Jolin-Barette, CAQ Government House Leader:

"We are pleased to have reached an agreement with the three opposition parties, as we had promised. At the beginning of this new legislature, all parties now have the necessary tools to work for the benefit of all Quebeckers."

Marc Tangay, Interim Leader of the PLQ:

"Very pleased to confirm that the Official Opposition has agreed to a negotiated agreement between the parties in the National Assembly. We were able to participate in a constructive discussion in the interest of Quebeckers."

Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, Co-Spokesperson for QS:

"We are very happy to have reached an agreement with the other parties. The parliamentary session starts next Tuesday and the MNAs of Québec solidaire will have the necessary means to do their opposition work against the Legault government."

An item on Info Radio-Canada quotes QS House Leader Alexandre Leduc saying that having secured "full and complete recognition" of his party it has now obtained 'three cabinets' [budgets and staff] to carry out the functions of leader of the Second Opposition,

Leduc said that the funding obtained by QS will allow him to "build a robust parliamentary wing with a minimum of three questions per day in the Blue Room."

The QS is said to have 31 questions per cycle of 100, up from 19 in the last parliament, with a budget of $2.7 million per year, for the duration of a four-year mandate, as opposed to $1.7 million during the prior mandate.

The Parti Québécois leader called the agreement a bargain-basement "deal" that he was forced to sign, otherwise the other three parties were ready to sign a three-way deal, which would have taken away from the PQ even what it had managed to negotiate until then.

The PQ obtains :

- seven per cent of the questions instead of five, or two questions per week;

- a budget of $570,000 instead of $495,000, which will allow for the hiring of one more employee;

- an "observer" seat at the Office of the National Assembly, without voting rights.

In a statement on Facebook, the PQ leader said that the CAQ's goal was to ensure that the PQ would not bounce back, while the QLP and the QS collaborated on this. He appealed to people who voted for the PQ to raise $120,000 by the end of the year to make up for the PQ's shortfall.

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Letter from PQ Leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon

My dear friends,

As you know, for the past several days, the Parti Québécois has been negotiating with the other three parties represented in the National Assembly to obtain an officially recognized party status, which includes financial resources, speaking time and an administrative presence in some instances of the Assembly. You probably saw in the media that the various offers made to our formation did not allow us to reach the vital minimum that gives a political party the means to function normally, that is to say, a number of employees that would allow us to do our work properly and speaking time that would give us at least the right to exist.

In the last election, Quebec voters overwhelmingly supported five political parties, four of which were almost equally divided, each receiving between 13 per cent and 15 per cent of the votes cast. When the House opens, a party with 41 per cent of the vote will have 72 per cent of the seats. The current voting system has created an unprecedented distortion of the composition of the National Assembly. Each of these constituencies deserves to be properly and democratically represented. This exceptional situation calls for exceptional measures to restore a certain democratic balance, to mitigate the distortions and to allow the National Assembly to represent the main political currents in Québec as faithfully as possible.

Unfortunately, this was not the spirit in which the present negotiations took place. Very quickly, we understood, by the calculation methods proposed and by the lack of openness shown at the negotiating table by the other political parties, that no one really had any intention of correcting the democratic distortions caused by the last election. Here are the kinds of offers we were facing:

- Accepting that a party (the PLQ), which got fewer votes than the PQ, would get 10x our budget and about 70 per cent of the questions, compared to only five per cent for us.

- Accepting that a party with a similar number of votes to ours, Québec solidaire, gets 4x our budget and about 25 per cent of the questions. These are the "generous offers" of the CAQ and the PLQ.

Many columnists and commentators have pointed out that the objective of these negotiations was not to find a fair deal for all political parties, but rather -- and the other parties will never admit it of course -- to find the best possible way to marginalize the presence of the Parti Québécois in the next mandate. Unfortunately, this is also what we felt as the negotiations progressed.

Faced with a CAQ that wanted to give as little as possible, the PLQ and QS unfortunately agreed to offers and a final result that further accentuates democratic distortions rather than helping to reduce them. We did not sense any appetite on their part for a real democratic rebalancing, nor did either of them act to ensure that the PQ would obtain real recognition. In this regard, it should be noted that in the end, these two parties will have obtained all their demands, both administrative and financial. For the PQ, it is the opposite: a generalized refusal of our initial demands and a financial proposal that makes our work almost impossible.

In these negotiations, the Parti Québécois had absolutely no leverage. In fact, it had only one: you. When we realized that there would be no movement on the part of the PLQ, QS and CAQ, after several days of negotiations, the only option left to us was to make public the ridiculous offers we were being made. Many of you supported us and reacted with amazement and disappointment.

The day before yesterday, we learned that a written offer excluding us had begun to circulate among the three parties and that they were ready to sign it without our agreement, which they have the right to do, since the rules of the National Assembly call for "a strong consensus" and not unanimity. So they had the power to take away what had been negotiated, making our situation even more impossible, and reducing our budget and my recognition as leader to nothing. We couldn't risk losing this status of leader, which will allow me to ask questions to the Premier during the next four years, as few as they are. We could not risk losing even more budget than what was proposed. We could not risk potentially sacrificing the viability of the independence movement in Parliament to try to get a few more crumbs.

Under impossible conditions and with no other leverage, we managed, at the last minute, to make some modest gains before signing a discounted agreement:

- So we will get seven per cent of the questions instead of five per cent, that means two questions per week.

- We'll get $570,000 instead of $495,000, which will allow us to hire an additional staff member.

- We will have a position as a non-voting "observer" member of the Office of the National Assembly instead of no seat at all.

We have gone for the maximum we can get under conditions that make no sense; in conditions where our counterparts are judge and jury, where there is no negotiating power, no independent process and very, very little good faith.

Now, what conclusions can we draw from this episode? First, that we cannot trust François Legault's word. The day after the election, the Premier sent a strong message of openness and a call for collaboration with the opposition. He also said that we must be sensitive to the democratic distortions of the last election and that we must not accentuate them further. François Legault failed his first test. As is too often the case, our Premier is excellent at making statements, but much less so at acting consistently.

Second, who do you think scares the CAQ? The outcome of this negotiation leaves little doubt. It is not Québec Solidaire or the Quebec Liberal Party that the CAQ is afraid of. The CAQ wants to be sure that the PARTI QUÉBÉCOIS will not rise again. What they have not yet understood is that we have already begun to recover and will continue to do so even more over the next four years, despite the limited means at our disposal.

Third, the people of Quebec have not yet said their last word. With the budget we have been granted, we are about two positions short. We have set a goal of raising $120,000 by the end of this year. Since it is an election year, you can donate up to $200. If 600 people make the maximum donation, we will reach our goal together.

We are therefore calling on the 600,000 Quebeckers who have supported us and on all those who are committed to democracy to support this vast fundraising campaign that will allow us to fill these two positions to complete our team and to be able to adequately carry your voice every day. I encourage you to give, no matter how much money you have! 

Also, for each day that we are deprived of a question in the House, we will innovate and find another way to question the CAQ, whether in a press briefing or elsewhere.

In closing, I want to reiterate that the Parti Québécois is first and foremost a democrat. In the coming months, we will use all parliamentary means at our disposal to reform the system so that it better represents the will of the people. Unfortunately, our democratic system is increasingly broken and the people who benefit from this dynamic want to make the most of it. The Parti Québécois will work to ensure that this flawed "negotiation" process is the last in Quebec's history. We will propose a reform that will make the process INDEPENDENT and NEUTRAL, and change the rules on recognition that are no longer adapted to our reality.

Thanks to all of you, we will succeed.

Thank you in advance.

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