About the Place d’Option nationale at Québec solidaire

We read with interest the letter from around fifteen former members of the Option nationale (ON) party inviting their “former comrades” to abandon Québec solidaire (QS) in favor of the Parti québécois (PQ). We consider it relevant to respond to the arguments submitted to us, in a spirit of constructive discussion between separatists.

For those unfamiliar with the recent history of Option nationale, allow us some context. After its merger with Québec solidaire in 2017, ON became an internal group officially recognized by the unified party (a “collective”). Since then, we have continued to grow and welcome supportive members willing to work with us to promote and achieve independence. Although several members of the collective were indeed members of Option nationale before the merger, this is not the case for all. Furthermore, contrary to what the title “The end of the solidarity mirage” might suggest, no signatory of the text was affiliated with Québec solidaire at the time of publication: no one “left” the party.

Let’s return to the content of the letter. The central argument of the signatories is based on a long-discussed, but often misinterpreted, statistic. The survey cited is far from unique: numerous surveys have already shown that a little less than half of QS supporters say they are sovereignists. This situation should not be minimized: it signals a major communication challenge that our collective strives to tirelessly highlight.

We nevertheless agree with what other party speakers have said: these polls are not aimed at our members or our activists, but simply at our potential electorate. Furthermore, we are betting on seeing the glass half full: if several sympathizers choose our party despite its independence commitment, we see this as an opportunity to seek additional allies for the movement.

Ideological purity

On this subject, we deplore the tendency of many separatists to engage in contests of ideological purity which are harmful to the cause. We salute the renewed sovereignist ardor of the PQ since 2020, but the fact remains that QS has done useful work by maintaining, since its founding, its promise of a constituent assembly in a first mandate (and since the merger with ON in 2017 , is guaranteed a closed mandate leading to a referendum on independence).

We are assured that the PQ of Paul St-Pierre Plamondon (PSPP) succeeded “in concretely advancing the independence of Quebec”, and yet, during its campaign in Jean-Talon, “neither its candidate, Pascal Paradis, nor its leader did not campaign on sovereignty. The publication of the year 1 budget was even delayed to prevent it from compromising its chances”, as the columnist of the Duty Michel David. The real test of the PSPP lies in 2026: since the referendum failure of 1995, the PQ has only promised a referendum in a first mandate during two electoral campaigns (out of eight), those of 2007 and 2022. .

We therefore warmly invite our former comrades to continue their work at the PQ. As far as we are concerned, our collective is proud to have contributed to placing independence at the center of the last race for QS spokesperson, in particular by organizing a debate on this issue, then through our support to the candidacy of Ruba Ghazal, whose passionately pro-independence message brought her very close to victory, facing an equally pro-independence Émilise Lessard-Therrien and whose renewed speech inspires us with hope and optimism.

We recognized ourselves in the project carried by QS and ON while respecting the choice of our former comrades to go to another independence party. The ideological diversity of our movement is, after all, an asset, not an obstacle. We look forward to working with our PQ comrades at the OUI-Québec table, and one day in the Yes camp.

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