For decades the Quebec Liberal Party has betrayed its core supporters, the English and minorities. Even in the face of plunging poll numbers and virtually no support beyond the island of Montreal, they did it once again by trying to be all things to all people. To minorities and Anglophones, they trumpeted that they were the only party that voted against Bill 21 – the CAQ’s odious law forcing some Jews, Muslims and Sikhs to choose between their religious beliefs and working in several professions. What they did not say is that their platform supported all the discriminatory parts of Bill 21 with the sole exception of teachers who they would allow to wear religious symbols.

It was a similar story with Bill 96 which they backed on first and second reading, then made it worse, and finally backtracked following furious outrage from their base Anglophone supporters. Again, their platform did NOT call for the abolition of Bill 96 but only for a few changes.

Nevertheless, voters in the English and minority areas of Montreal still voted for them. Did these voters not do their homework and believe that the Liberals were against Bills 21 and 96 as they kept claiming. Maybe, but what I heard from many was that they wanted a party that could someday come to power and they felt that the Canadian Party of Quebec was too new to have any chance.

History has shown that what the Liberals will now do is become more Nationalistic. They know that no matter what they do, their base in Montreal will never leave them so they will go after the French vote outside of Montreal. It won’t work. Why should Francophones vote for a party that moves a little towards the CAQ when they can vote for the real thing?

Since the election delivered us lemons, perhaps we can make lemonade

The Liberals lost 10 of their seats (a full one third) and their votes dropped by 40%. They have been reduced to their western Montreal hard core base. This weakening means that we, their core supporters, have an opportunity to exert tremendous influence. Dominique Anglade will face a leadership review. She must satisfy her base or else someone else will become the new leader of the party. We can influence that decision and the platform of the party.

What must be done

First, become members of the party. Then in each riding try to get on the executive or at least elect members who will support the party’s constitution. Speak to your MNA and try to get a commitment to support a platform that does not violate the party’s constitution and to vote for a leader that also supports the constitution.

When life gives you lemons make lemonade

The Liberal Party’s Constitution

If you read the Liberal Party of Quebec’s Constitution the most important parts are in Article 1 on the first page:

“By the present Constitution, a political party is formed whose philosophy is based on the following:

   a) the primacy of the person, individual freedoms, and the right of each to realize their goals in respect of others;

   b) equal rights of all persons without distinction, exclusion or preference based notably on race, colour, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, civil status, age (except as stipulated in this Constitution), religion, language, ethnic or national origin, social condition, disability or the use of any means to manage the disability;”

Without reading any further, you can see that based just on these two points, Bills 21 and 96 should have been rejected in totality by the Liberals immediately when they were proposed. The Constitution is not some old archaic document. It was just adopted in November, 2017.

Now, it is up to Liberal party supporters to bring the party back to its fundamental principles.

How can the Liberals get power again while supporting Anglophones and minorities?

Actually, It is not so hard to be principled, support Quebec’s minorities, Anglophones and the indigenous peoples and still have a platform that will appeal to all Quebecers. The truth is most Quebecers are much more concerned about health care, the economy and the environment than about minority rights. The CAQ is weak on all these areas but there was no reasonable alternative. The Liberal’s attempt to be all things to all people failed as it always will. So here are some simple elements that I would propose for a new Liberal platform (aside from a total rejection of all discriminatory laws).

Health CareSee my article, Prescription for Improved Medical Care in Quebec and Canada, for several ideas which will work. They include more privatization options including hospitals, more immigration for health care professionals and fast tracking of approval of their credentials, removal of disincentives such as forcing the professionals to work in the regions and to attend French schools, etc. These ideas are radical based on the conventional wisdom today but there is ample evidence to show that they will dramatically improve medical care.

Economy – The biggest problems today are a lack of workers and inflation. Increasing levels of immigration for workers in every field where they are needed without the disincentives such French only schooling, discriminatory laws like Bills 21 and 96, etc. will lead to a dramatic improvement in our economy and put downward pressure on inflation. There are plenty of other things that can be done if the Liberals think out of the box.

Environment – This is a huge topic which must be broken down into several sub topics such as greenhouse gases, pollution, biodiversity, alternative energy sources including nuclear power, water conservation, garbage reduction, etc. There are creative ways to address each issue without destroying Canada’s economy. Pipelines are a safer and cheaper way to transport oil than trains. In Quebec Hydro power is much more cost effective and cleaner than solar panels which require the mining of expensive and rare minerals and manufacturing and transportation of the panels. Fracking is safe and a better source of energy than coal or oil both economically and from an environment perspective according to a Stanford University professor and expert in the field. There are many ideas than go against what everyone thinks they know. The Liberals should do the research and come up with solid ideas.

Protecting French – No fair and reasonable analysis shows that making life more difficult for Anglophones makes French more secure. Rather offering free French courses to everyone, providing subsidies for French culture including movies, theatre and literature are much better approaches. At the same time freedom of choice in education will allow Francophones to improve their English and economic prospects. It is what ordinary Francophones want.

I have just given a few examples of what the liberal’s new platform could contain. They would appeal to all Quebecers and would be a huge contrast to the CAQ’s agenda. Now it is up to us in the Liberal strongholds to get involved and help the Liberals return to their roots and win the next election. If you agree with me, share this article on your social media and forward it to your e-mail contacts.

Note to readers of Bill’s Uncommon Sense.

I will be away for a few weeks so my articles will resume when I return. In the meantime, I welcome your suggestions for topics that I can cover in future articles. E-mail me at if you wish to suggest any.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post comment

Picture of Dr. Bill Steinberg

Dr. Bill Steinberg

Dr. Steinberg has a BSc from McGill University, a PhD in Psychology from Northwestern University, and was a professor at Concordia University. He was Mayor of the Town of Hampstead for 16 years and led the demerger battle. He was was awarded the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal and is currently President of the Cochlear Implant Recipients Association.

Subscribe to the Mailing List

Stay up to date with the latest blog posts and important information from Dr. Bill Steinberg.