Quebec solidaire: internal crisis around the investiture of Haroun Bouazzi
, Charles Mathieu and Marie Christine Trottier MISE À DAY
Solidarity MP Haroun Bouazzi was accused by activists of paying for new members to join, in contravention of electoral law, during the very close contest for the nomination which preceded his election last spring. Resignation en bloc from the local executive, accusation of racial profiling: suspicions of irregularities have created an internal crisis in Quebec solidaire.
Our Bureau of Investigation has gotten its hands on a series of documents, which have remained secret until now, describing the rat race that surrounded the investiture of the new solidarity deputy for Maurice-Richard, last spring. The protesters behind the complaint dispute the validity of his narrow victory.
A month before the inauguration, party officials in Maurice-Richard said that 11 new members recruited by the Bouazzi team, out of 33 contacted, had admitted not having paid for their membership themselves.
Despite their request, QS refused to verify another 180 new membership cards and Haroun Bouazzi was elected candidate with a lead of only five votes.
A few days later, the eight members of the local executive resigned en bloc, “in protest”.
On May 24, they wrote to the party asking to “immediately dismiss” Mr. Bouazzi “due to serious irregularities”. According to them, “the number of these irregular memberships far exceeds the margin of 5 votes” that sealed the victory.
But their request was received with a cold shower by the Secretary General of the left. In a response sent two days later, he assures that all the voters who voted for the nomination were “members in good standing”, then takes the protesters to task.
He accuses them of conducting an “illegitimate investigation”, in addition to contacting only “members with Arabic-sounding names” as part of their checks.
“He This is a practice that at first glance resembles racial profiling, which has absolutely no place in Québec solidaire,” writes Nicolas Chatel-Launay, the real leader of the party under the law. election.
He then adds a warning: “We also consider your accusations defamatory with regard to the democratically invested candidate and we could not accept that such remarks be made in the public space”.
QS ensures integrity
In an interview, Mr. Chatel-Launay claims to have taken all measures to ensure the integrity of the nomination. < /p>
“Our internal accountant called the 11 people […] and none told us that Haroun or someone from his team had paid for his membership card,” said QS secretary general Nicolas Chatel- Launay. The process was overseen by the party's lawyer.
At the end of the checks, one person asked to have his membership cancelled.
“ When we did the verification of the members, there are some of these members who did not remember having paid or not. We remember that the allegation that is important is that “Haroun Bouazzi paid my dues”, underlines Mr. Chatel-Launay.
The people contacted did, however, want to be members, he points out.
Since the amount for membership is low (a choice of $5 or $25), these new members could have forgotten in good faith, he believes. “A 5 piastres is quite easily forgotten,” says Mr. Chatel-Launay.
QS therefore asked them to pay again and sent the amount to the DGEQ to be sure not to keep the duplicate amount. “So we made sure that the person had really paid his dues and that the money really came from that person,” continues the secretary general.
For Nicolas Chatel-Launay, the current controversy is the result of activists disappointed by the defeat of their candidate, Raphaël Rebelo. “It seems quite normal to me to want to find an explanation for why we were defeated,” he says.
A member of the local executive who resigned believes, for his part , that the crisis hurt the party in Maurice-Richard. Several very active activists tore up their membership cards and abstained from voting for QS in the recent elections, says this source.
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