A wind of major change is likely to blow hard in the ranks of the Quebec Liberal Party (PLQ) during the next electoral campaign, in 2022, with at least ten early departures among the 28 current elected officials.
Everything indicates that there will be several voluntary departures, due to age and long periods of service, to which could be added a few forced departures.
At least two elected Liberals are currently in the “hot seat”, Gaétan Barrette and Lise Thériault, placed in a fragile position making them likely to be shown the door at the end of this mandate.
This is what reveals a probe carried out over the last few days by The Canadian Press with several Liberal MPs, former MPs and party relatives.
In the general election of 2022, without giving in to ageism, the fact remains that a third of the members of the Liberal caucus will be over 65, an age that we think twice before committing to another term of office. four years.
Officially, no member is ready at this time to announce that he will not be in the ranks. But behind the scenes, with a closed microphone, several sources, direct and indirect, confirm that everything indicates that the political careers of many elected officials will end in 2022.
Among these, all associated with the Jean Charest era (2003-2012), let us note the former ministers Pierre Arcand (Mont-Royal-Outremont), who will be 71 years old in 2022, Kathleen Weil (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce ), Christine St-Pierre (Acadie) and Nicole Ménard (Laporte).
Members of the liberal caucus are of the opinion that the leader of the party, Dominique Anglade (Saint-Henri-Sainte-Anne), would also welcome all these departures, which would allow her to clearly “dissociate” herself from the Charest era, to bring “new blood” and thus display the image of renewal that she wanted to impose on her party to regain popular favor.
Other names have been added to the list of departures deemed “probable”: the former Minister of Finance Carlos Leitão (Robert-Baldwin), the former ministers Hélène David (Marguerite-Bourgeoys) and Francine Charbonneau (Mille-Îles ), as well as the deputies Jean Rousselle (Vimont) and David Birnbaum (D’Arcy-McGee).
The closer the election deadline, the more the party leadership will have to position itself on the team it wants to present to the population in 2022. Some MPs could then be “suggested” to go soft, without making history, either to free up some winning constituencies to offer to star candidates or simply change the image of the party.
This is the fate that had been reserved in 2018 for the former deputy of Marquette, François Ouimet, who had reluctantly had to leave his place to Enrico Ciccone. The party had also tried to press Francine Charbonneau, in Mille-Îles, but she had managed to withstand the pressure and was re-elected. Former Minister Jean-Denis Girard had been less fortunate: the party tried to oust him, but he clung on and was defeated in Trois-Rivières.
The Gaétan Barrette case
In 2022, Gaétan Barrette (La Pinière) could well suffer this fate. Reliable sources indicate that pressure from inside and outside the caucus is being exerted on Mr.me Anglade so that she does not approve his nomination, if he wants to be a candidate again.
The media presence considered too leaned on subjects which are not of its competence and the style qualified as “abrasive” of the former Minister of Health are a source of embarrassment and irritation for some deputies, who ‘openly complain to the chef.
During a recent meeting between Mme Anglade and former parliamentarians, the message sent to the leader was of the same water: Gaétan Barrette harms the image of the party.
We do not yet know the intentions of Mr. Barrette, who will be 66 years old in 2022.
The case of Lise Thériault
The fate of another member seems uncertain, but for other reasons.
The stormy relations between the member for Anjou-Louis-Riel, Lise Thériault, and Dominique Anglade have been in the headlines for years. Their rivalry had reached a climax in 2017, when the two ministers shared the economic files and Mr.me Thériault had threatened to resign, feeling that he was being treated unfairly.
In the liberal ranks, many take for granted that with his long service, Mr.me Thériault is going to bow out. A source claims that if she doesn’t leave voluntarily, she will be shown the door, due to tensions with the boss. But another source maintains that believing that she would give up her place with a smile on her face, if ever we tried to pack her down, is not knowing Lise Thériault.
Questioned about this, the main interested party said she was convinced “that it will not happen”, that no one will dare to chase her. A well-known and appreciated figure within the party, proud dean of the National Assembly – a title she shares with the Prime Minister Francois Legault -, Mme Thériault fully intends to be a candidate in 2022, for the eighth time!
“I’m just 54 years old. I have no reason to withdraw, ”says Mme Thériault, categorically, in a telephone interview. If she is re-elected, the former Deputy Prime Minister could become the only survivor of the Charest cabinet.
Mme Thériault, who had refused to support Mr.me Anglade during the leadership race, quickly aligning himself with Alexandre Cusson’s camp, denies all past rumors of rivalry or animosity with his boss, arguing on the contrary maintaining “very good relations with her”.
Yes No Maybe
Another MP with a long track record, the MP for Hull, Maryse Gaudreault, in office since 2008, believes, for now at least, that she will want to claim another term in 2022. This would be the case also from Filomena Rotiroti (Jeanne-Mance-Viger), also from the 2008 vintage.
Elected in a complementary election in 2016, it is certain that the former minister Isabelle Melançon (Verdun) will be in the running in 2022.
As for her, the MP for Saint-Laurent, Marwah Rizqy, prefers for the moment not to project herself into the future, refusing to commit in one direction or the other.
The same goes for the member for Maurice-Richard, the former minister Marie Montpetit.
Sources within the caucus expect to see most of the other MPs try their luck again in 2022. They all represent ridings in the Montreal region, except André Fortin (Pontiac), in the Outaouais. They are Enrico Ciccone (Marquette), Frantz Benjamin (Viau), Gregory Kelley (Jacques-Cartier), Monsef Derraji (Nelligan), Jennifer Maccarone (Westmount-Saint-Louis), Saul Paulo (Laval-des-Rapides ), Marie-Claude Nichols (Vaudreuil), Monique Sauvé (Fabre), Paule Robitaille (Bourassa-Sauvé) and Marc Tanguay (Lafontaine).