Dominique Anglade envisions a unified and transparent Quebec

By Michael Boriero, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Dominique Anglade made history two weeks ago when she became the first woman to take the helm of the Quebec Liberal Party, and the first person of colour to lead any provincial party in Quebec’s history.
Anglade spent months campaigning against her only opponent, former Drummondville mayor Alexandre Cusson. But Cusson dropped out of the race suddenly on May 11 due to financial reasons, which solidified Anglade’s new position.
“It’s a very humbling experience but it’s also a sense of responsibility that I feel and that’s the best way to describe it,” Anglade said during a phone interview with The Record. “I’m filled with pride, but I also have to deliver.”
A former Liberal cabinet minister representing the Montreal riding of Saint-Henri–Sainte-Anne, Anglade takes over the leadership role from interim party leader Pierre Arcand. She has the utmost respect for the work Arcand accomplished in the short-term.
“I think he did a very good job at getting things organized, getting people to talk to each other and maintaining cohesion within the caucus,” she said.
Anglade says she is ready to bring the party back to its former high standing, prior to the devastating defeat at the hands of Premier François Legault and the Coalition Avenir Québec during the 2018 provincial election.
According to Anglade, her primary job is to facilitate an inclusive culture within the party. She wants to bring Quebecers together with a modern vision of Quebec, focusing on environmental stability, as well as economic and social issues.
“Now my role is to unite people, to open the doors of the Liberal Party, to be again a party where people can get involved, feel engaged, propose ideas and see them come to life,” she said.
Since the CAQ steamrolled into power, the 46-year-old Anglade says there has been a growing disunity among Quebecers. She wants to remove the animosity built up between the regions and Montreal, as well as Anglophones and Francophones.
“I really believe the party that can drive a society that’s inclusive and modern is really the Liberal Party; I don’t see the CAQ doing that,” said Anglade.
However, she recognizes the tremendous climb ahead for the QLP. It was a tough pill to swallow for the party when it won only 32 seats and less than 25 per cent of the provincewide vote in the last election.
But after travelling extensively throughout Quebec, Anglade believes people are beginning to change their minds about the Legault government. They rallied behind the CAQ at the outset of the pandemic, but support is starting to wane.
“They were doing really well at the beginning of the pandemic because they were communicating well and ensuring cohesion within society,” she said. “But the fact of the matter is a number of decisions that have been taken don’t make sense.”
It’s normal for people to rally behind their government during times of panic and uncertainty, added Anglade. But the Quebec government needs to offer more in terms of the future of the province.
She says several measures put in place throughout the pandemic have been highly questionable. They appear to have been made based on opinions rather than hard scientific data.
“It’s going to be our task to ask the questions, but also in a constructive way to propose new ideas to bring ideas forward, that’s what we’ll have to do,” said Anglade.
And this is an issue that she has seen developing within the CAQ, even pre-COVID-19. They made controversial decisions regarding immigration and religious symbols, now Quebecers are seeing similar “ill defined” policies regarding masks and testing.
In New York and other places, Anglade says, there is readily available data provided daily, where people can compare the rate of COVID-19 infections with other regions. She says that her mission is to bring that information and transparency to Quebecers.
“One thing that we would need to implement and one thing I will push for, is having this idea of transparency, data, fact-based decisions, that’s what I would like to see and that’s what we haven’t seen,” said Anglade.

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