The General Council of the Conservative Party of Canada opens Saturday with the announcement of the recruitment of a former Bloc Québécois leader, Michel Gauthier, as a member of the political party.
The Conservatives wanted to make a big impact by taking advantage of the rally in Saint-Hyacinthe to welcome the former deputy of the separatist formation to their ranks.
The latter will not run under the Conservative banner in October 2019, but he will get involved alongside Quebec candidates who run for office.
The arrival of Michel Gauthier as a member of the Conservative Party is highly symbolic, while the Bloc Québécois has been on the run for months under the leadership of Chief Martine Ouellet.
The Conservatives hope to be the big beneficiaries of the transfer of the nationalist vote in Quebec, as their leader, Andrew Scheer, pointed out in an open letter he signed last March.
In this missive, he opened his arms to “nationalists who are tired of the bickering and existential crises of the Bloc and who believe in a strong Quebec within a united Canada”.
The holding of a first general council in Quebec, a first, is part of this same attempt to woo the Quebec election.
The Conservative Party of Canada wants to be perceived as “a serious alternative for Quebec” – headline of the book of 73 resolutions distributed to some 400 activists who converged in Saint-Hyacinthe for the weekend.
The Conservatives elected a record 12 MPs in the last election in October 2015, despite the unpopularity of former leader Stephen Harper.
They are now trying to highlight the new captain of the ship, Andrew Scheer, by focusing on a media strategy that has unfolded in particular with the presence of the chef on the set of the show Tout le monde en parle.
His predecessor had always refused to set foot there. We wanted to mark a break with the Harper era.
But for the Liberals, the New Democrats and the Bloc, the change is cosmetic, while the political week in Ottawa was marked by the cry in the House of Commons of Manitoba curator Ted Falk, for whom abortion, “it’s not a right”.
Chief Scheer is himself opposed to abortion, but he promised that never, under his leadership, would this debate be reopened. Stephen Harper has had the same approach during his decade in office.