Marie-Claude Nichols refuses to rejoin the PLQ caucus

Jocelyne Richer, The Canadian Press

QUEBEC CITY — New setback for Liberal leader Dominique Anglade: Vaudreuil MP Marie-Claude Nichols refused on Tuesday the offer made to her the day before to rejoin the Liberal caucus.

After 24 hours of reflection following a meeting with Ms. Anglade, Ms. Nichols decided: there is no question of her returning to the Liberal fold, because the bond of trust in her former leader has been “strongly shaken” since her expulsion. caucus last Thursday.

The break between the two elected is therefore confirmed and seems irrevocable.

The leader of the Liberal Party of Quebec (PLQ) reacted at the end of the day with a brief written statement, claiming to take note of the decision of the elected representative of Vaudreuil. She added that « the door remains open » to her eventual return to the official opposition team.

Ms. Nichols, who says she remains committed to liberal values, emailed her response to members of the official opposition caucus on Tuesday noon. Since the start of the crisis, she has stayed away from the media and refused all interview requests.

In her message to the Liberals, she harshly criticizes Ms. Anglade’s leadership style, saying she does not want to be « the lifeline of a leadership that gets lost in unexplained, thoughtless and hasty decisions ».

On Monday, saying she was looking for a “way through”, Ms. Anglade had toured the media to say that she had met the excluded MP earlier with the aim of “reaching out to her” and invite her back to the team she leads. She did not say whether she had set her conditions for a possible return.

Last Thursday, the speech was totally different: Ms Nichols was expelled from the caucus, considering that she was not a « team player », according to the chairman of the caucus, deputy Enrico Ciccone. He was accused of having refused the roles offered by the head in the team of spokespersons, at the time of the composition of the shadow cabinet. Mrs. Nichols wanted a post of vice-president of the National Assembly, which was refused to her. Ms. Anglade instead offered her to be spokesperson for the transport sector, which the MP declined, preferring to play no role in the official opposition, a position that ignited the powder and caused her immediate expulsion. .

The decision, considered by some to be completely disproportionate, immediately raised an outcry and led to the public disapproval of many Liberals, including several former MPs and ministers who did not hesitate to conclude that the leader’s leadership would be shaken.

Noting the crisis that hit her party, Ms. Anglade therefore chose in recent days to reconsider her decision and try to get closer to the MP, whom she had repudiated a few days earlier. But the damage was done. The MNA for Vaudreuil, re-elected under the Liberal banner for a third term on October 3, will therefore sit in the National Assembly as an independent MNA.

On Monday, Ms. Anglade reaffirmed that Ms. Nichols would not have the position of vice-president of the National Assembly reserved for the official opposition that she coveted, confirming at the same time that it would go to the deputy for Viau, Frantz Benjamin, who has remained silent, away from the media, since the start of the crisis.

The Liberal caucus therefore now has 20 MPs, instead of the 21 elected on October 3.

The new caucus president, Enrico Ciccone, who played a certain role in this mess, has also remained silent since Thursday, refusing any request for an interview. On Monday, the chef had reaffirmed her confidence in him.

In her brief statement, Ms. Anglade says it is now time for her caucus to focus on preparing for the return to parliament on November 29.


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