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PQ loses its status as second opposition, replaced by Quebec Solidaire

The struggling Parti Québécois has suffered another setback with a decision by the Speaker relegating it to fourth place in the provincial legislature.
The struggling Parti Québécois has suffered another setback with a decision by the Speaker relegating it to fourth place in the provincial legislature. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot

The Parti Québécois (PQ) has lost its second official opposition party status in the National Assembly to Quebec Solidaire (QS).

The separatist party has been relegated last place when it comes to officially-recognized parties.

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François Paradis, speaker of the National Assembly, made the decision Wednesday following a motion presented the day before by Quebec Solidaire.

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This comes after Marie-Victorin MNA Catherine Fournier announced she was leaving the PQ’s caucus last week, saying René Lévesque’s party could no longer promise to one day bring about Quebec’s independence.

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With her departure, the PQ has nine MNAs; Quebec Solidaire has 10.

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“It would be difficult to justify a party that now has nine members to rank higher than the one with 10,” he concluded.

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Fournier, who now sits as an independent, said she refuses to take responsibility for the demotion of her former party, coming right after her departure.

“What should worry sovereignists is not the order of the opposition parties, but our ability to gather together to win. That the status of a party relies on a single member shows the whole problem,” said Fournier, who declined an official interview request.

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PQ House Leader Martin Ouellet insisted the mood of the caucus will remain bright, despite the difficult times.

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“Does this undermine morale? Certainly not,” he said, adding he won’t blame Fournier for the turn of events.

Quebec Solidaire representatives said they recognize the decision as “very substantial.”

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“Quebec Solidaire is no longer a political curiosity, it is now the second opposition party in the National Assembly,” declared SQ House Leader Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois.

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“It was a matter of arithmetic for us. Ten is bigger than nine.”

— with files from The Canadian Press.