When Gabriel Nadeau Dubois, leader of Quebec students' magnificent rebellion against austerity in 2012, announced his intention to run as a candidate for Québec solidaire (QS) in mid-March, no one guessed the electric impact it would have.
A week later, over 5000 new members had joined QS and hundreds more had renewed their memberships and sent donations to "party of the ballot and of the street." That is more than the total number of members QS had when it was founded 10 years ago. In that same week after GND’s announcement, QS made front page of Le Devoir for jumping to 14 per cent in the polls.
QS emerged out of the anti-globalization movement and the women's movement. In the just over 10 years of its existence as a party, it has continue to link struggles against austerity, sexism, racism, homophobia and climate change and has given a voice to those movements in the legislature, electing three MNAs.
One of them, Francoise David, founder of the World March of Women had to retire for health reasons. It is in her Montreal riding of Gouin that GND will run.
He will also run for male co-spokesperson of the party. Manon Masse, who represents another Montreal riding and who is also a leader on women's issues, in the LGBTQ2S community and a champion of First Nations, Metis and Inuit self-determination, will serve as female co-spokesperson.
In addition to the two spokespeople the party has a chair who does not have to be elected; there is no single party leader. The third MNA, Amir Khadir, known for his work with Doctors Without Borders in Palestine and Iran, will run again in the Montreal riding of Mercier in October 2018.
In the Outaouais region, QS welcomed the 90 new members who live in its ridings with a meet and greet at a local bar in Hull. It was packed and even drew people who had not yet joined the part,y and by the end of the evening there were another 10 new members.
It was announced that students in the Outaouais region are holding a "red week" this spring to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Red Square movement. What better way to commemorate than to welcome GND and the grassroots struggle he represents to QS.
On April 24, GND and the other two candidates for spokesperson will hold a townhall for QS in the Outaouais. Manon Masse as well as the candidates for party chair have been invited as well, and it will be another opportunity to build the party in a region outside the urban centres, which is a central goal of QS right now.
However, beginning on April 8 and continuing at the QS convention in Montreal on the May long weekend, QS will engage in an internal debate on electoral alliances and pacts to defeat the ruling Liberals in 2018. Hopefully the result will be to uphold QS as a party that does politics in a new and radical way.