State elections | The PQ fears an unprecedented “distortion” in favor of the CAQ

(Québec ) Le Parti québécois accuse François Legault d’avoir « abandonné sciemment, de façon calculée », la réforme du mode de scrutin pour « s’assurer d’une domination totale » lors des prochaines élections. Le député Pascal Bérubé y voit une « menace à la démocratie » et sonne l’alarme à six mois du scrutin.

Publié à 12h54
Mis à jour à 13h31

Fanny Lévesque

Fanny Lévesque
La Presse

Charles Lecavalier

Charles Lecavalier
La Presse

« On se retrouve aujourd’hui dans une situation, avec les derniers sondages, où on peut anticiper une crise démocratique importante au Québec, une distorsion, sans précédent, entre les intentions de vote réelles et la représentation à venir de la prochaine législature », a lancé mardi le député de Matane-Matapédia, aussi porte-parole de la réforme des institutions démocratiques pour le Parti québécois.

La CAQ, avec un peu plus de 40 % des voix, pourrait se retrouver avec une centaine de sièges sur 125, c’est une disproportion qui fait peur.

Pascal Bérubé, député Matane-Matapédia

Selon M. Bérubé, il « semble acquis » que le prochain gouvernement ira chercher moins de 50 % des voix. « Je veux leur dire [aux Québécois] that a few months before an election the following is looming: a huge democratic deficit where a victorious government with around 40% of the vote could have 100 seats […] and that raises many questions about the role of parliamentarians and about democracy,” he said.

The popularity of the CAQ government is not diminishing, according to the latest Léger poll published in Quebecor’s media, while the Parti Québécois and the Quebec Liberal Party are in retreat. Projections by the Quebec125 website would give the Parti Québécois a single seat the day after the October elections under the current electoral system, Mr Bérubé told journalists.

“I could have chosen not to tell you about this, but it’s worrying and it explains why [le gouvernement a] refused an electoral commitment, then they died laughing at it,” admitted Mr. Bérubé, who will seek a new mandate next October.

For his part, Québec solidaire parliamentary leader Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois said on Tuesday that the “democratic system […] is sick”, which François Legault broke with his promise when he came to power in 2018. “François Legault has already agreed on this with me. I looked him in the eye, he signed an agreement with us and he broke his word. He broke his promise,” he said.

The Legault government has given up its electoral commitment to enact reform of the electoral system. In September 2019, Minister Sonia LeBel introduced Bill 39 introducing a new electoral system, but the text of the law was not submitted to parliamentarians for consideration.

Mme For his part, LeBel believes the CAQ has fulfilled its promise and says mission accomplished. Today in Quebec City, the Committee on Institutions examined the aspect of reforming democratic institutions. “I think we’ve fulfilled the commitment,” she said at the time. In his opinion, simply submitting the bill is enough to claim victory. However, François Legault had promised in 2018 that he would change the voting system ahead of the 2022 general election and not make himself a Justin Trudeau. But the CAQ finally decided to “turn the page” because of the pandemic, Mme LeBel.

In opposition, Minister Simon-Jolin Barrette has also been very critical of the Liberal Party, which is also opposed to electoral reform. He accused the PLQ of putting their interests ahead of Quebec’s. “We want to introduce a mixed system of proportional representation so that every vote counts and every Quebecer has their vote,” he said. Another minister in the Legault government, Jean-François Roberge, a member of Chambly, was also a fervent supporter of this reform. “In the last election [de 2014]the Liberal Party of Quebec elected 70 deputies and won 56% of the seats in the National Assembly, receiving only 42% of the votes cast,” he lamented.

For his part, in the parliamentary committee, CAQ MP Donald Martel reiterated that abandoning the bill gave him “an opportunity to reflect”. If we look at what has happened in the United States, in France and in Israel, he said, are we really sure that the reform is better than the current situation? Anyhow, he added, the pushback didn’t provoke calls from angry citizens at his constituency office.

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