In brief

Parti Quebecois crisis deepens as MNA Fournier pulls out, leaves party as smallest in Assembly

PQ says party in “profound and lucid process” of change

Catherine Fournier speaks at a PQ campaign meeting.
Catherine Fournier speaks at a PQ campaign meeting. Author: Catherine Fournier\'s Twitter account
The current Parti Quebecois crisis, triggered by its defeat in the October 2018 election, deepened after the MNA Catherine Fournier’s departure from the pro-independence party this week. Losing Fournier’s seat —who will retake her seat as a “sovereignist” independent MNA— means that the PQ is now the fourth and smallest party at the National Assembly of Quebec, with 9 seats, one behind Quebec Solidaire, which becomes the largest pro-independence party.

As she left the party, Fournier said that “the PQ’s brand is exhausted” and added that “Quebecers no longer listen to the party,” which she believes is “blocked” and “refractory to change.”

In addition, Fournier complained that she received criticism from the party’s ranks referring to her “immaturity” —26, she is the youngest woman to have been elected as MNA— and suggested that such criticism was fed by sexism: “I do not think they would have made those comments if I were older, or maybe if I were a man. It looks as if a 26-year-old woman is not able to make a big decision.”

A PQ statement blamed Fournier for saying that she will seek to find a transversal unity of the pro-sovereignty camp beyond political parties while, at the same time, she is pulling out of the PQ just 5 months after being its candidate. The statement explains that the PQ is about to start “a profound and lucid process” of change, with the stated goals that, by the end of 2019, “a new Parti Quebecois may be unveiled, and to place independence again at the core of our political action.” To this, the PQ is heading towards its second Extraordinary Congress of its 51 year-long history.

Fournier’s departure from the PQ caused multiple reactions within the party in which, until a few days ago, many saw her as one of their young, rising stars, and a chance for the future. Fellow MNA Sylvain Gaudreault said he has felt “betrayed” by his former colleague, but he also admitted that the pro-sovereignty movement right now “seems a band of clowns.”