Dominique Anglade addressed PLQ members during recent online event
In her first address to the PLQ membership since first being selected as the Quebec Liberal Party’s new leader, Dominique Anglade suggested during a recent online meeting that she will be emphasizing the defense of the French culture and language in the coming years, while also focusing on the Coalition Avenir Québec government’s questionable response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Anglade became the PLQ’s leader 153 years after the party was first formed in the mid-19th century. She steps into the leadership at a time when many are questioning the Quebec Liberal Party’s future, given its poor performance in the last provincial election and the CAQ government’s success at holding the fort up to now.
First speech as leader
“Leading the Liberal Party of Quebec is a privilege – a privilege that demands that one is constantly listening to you, the party activists,” said Anglade. “My heart must beat at the same pace as yours.
“As you may know, I was raised in Quebec, I did my studies and raised my family here.” Noting that her parents wanted their family to grow up in a just and prosperous society, she said they also wanted their children to be raised in a French-speaking environment.
Pointing out that Quebec is now emerging from the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Anglade said the Liberals are currently also facing major challenges. “It is our duty to win the support of all Quebecers in all the regions of Quebec,” she said, alluding to the fact it was the Quebec Liberals who launched the Quiet Revolution that led to a wide range of new policies and reforms.
Challenges ahead for PLQ
“We propelled Quebec into an era of progress and modernity never seen before,” said Anglade. “Sixty years later it’s still us who must continue to stand up against the divisiveness and the populism that can be seen every day. I hope that my leadership of the Liberal Party of Quebec helps to put forward a vision for a Quebec that is modern, unifying and that is the envy of people in other parts of the world.”
Anglade said she sees several principal challenges for the PLQ in the coming months and years. Firstly, renewing relationships with activists within the party and the parliamentary wing.
“We have an opportunity to make a profound reflection on our past which is truly remarkable … There are bridges to rebuild, and new are also new bridges to be built. We must listen better to our activists, open doors and re-establish links with all the regions of Quebec.”
Focus on regions, says Anglade
While insisting that the PLQ wants to continue its longstanding tradition of welcoming people from all walks of life, from all regions of Quebec, from around the world, and both in French and English, Anglade said the party needs to pay more attention to the province’s regions, while avoiding “wall to wall” solutions for too many things.
‘It is clear that the Liberal Party of Quebec must defend an open and authentic vision of the Quebec identity,’ said Anglade
“On the other hand, I know too that our ambition for and love of Quebec are important and as Liberals we have a heritage to defend, especially in terms of progress to be made. As a political party that aspires to govern Quebec, we also have a duty to set an example. Quebecers are watching us and the bar is set high.
“In the Quebec of today, no party can afford to criticize the government while waiting for power to come to it naturally, and we are well aware of this. So every day, we must be able to demonstrate that our ideas truly correspond much more to the hopes and expectations of Quebecers and that our integrity and devotion to the public interest are irreproachable.”
French language and culture
Regarding the French language and culture, Anglade said, “We must have the courage to ask fundamental questions. It is clear that the Liberal Party of Quebec must defend an open and authentic vision of the Quebec identity. This will mean embracing without hesitation our distinct character as a Francophone people in North America, to acknowledge our history and defend our language, to preserve our values which include tolerance and liberty.”
Regarding the CAQ’s economic record, Anglade said the PLQ had always prided itself on being the party for economic development, although the CAQ had attempted to take over that role in recent years. “But the CAQ has an archaic vision of the economy,” she continued. “François Legault is talking about an economy from another era, another decade.” She said the PLQ would be proposing an economic vision that is more modern and updated.