Quebec voters will have more options when they head to the polls this fall as a new provincial political party, the Canadian Party of Quebec, had its “soft-launch” this week. CHIP 101.9 spoke with the party’s spokesperson, Colin Standish, to discuss its origins, platform and strategy for the race this fall.
Standish also heads the Task Force on Linguistic Policy, a language advocacy group that sprang up in the wake of Bill 96, Quebec’s overhaul of the province’s language laws. Minority rights and language issues feature heavily in the party’s platform. “Linguistic, educational, and religious rights are under attack. Since the election of the Coalition Avenir Québec in 2018, we have seen unjust laws proposed or adopted: Bill 21, Bill 40, and Bill 96,” the statement on the party’s website reads.
Standish said that he was disappointed in the way the political parties in Quebec have been amending and discussing this piece of legislation, and singled out the Quebec Liberals for their controversial amendment adding three core French courses for English Cégep students, which they subsequently tried to walk back.
The party is not alone in challenging the “Big 4” mainstream political parties in the National Assembly, as earlier this week former Montreal mayoral candidate Balarama Holness launched his own party, Mouvement Québec. In addition, the previously fringe Conservative Party of Quebec has seen a recent surge in the polls under the leadership of Éric Duhaime. When asked why Quebecers seem to be seeking out alternatives, Standish said that there’s a big “void” when it comes to political options in Quebec.
Standish said that they had a “province-wide, 125 riding strategy” but would be focusing their efforts on certain seats they believe are winnable, specifically in Montreal, the Eastern Townships and west Quebec. He said that they were currently in the process of being approved by Elections Quebec, and would be holding an official party launch in the near future.