Quebec’s second-largest opposition party has elected Emilise Lessard-Therrien as its new co-spokeswoman at a party convention in Gatineau, Que.
Quebec solidaire, which has 12 seats in the province’s 125-seat legislature, doesn’t have a traditional leader but instead operates with two co-spokespeople – one man and one woman – as the left-wing party’s public face.
Lessard-Therrien, 31, won on the second ballot Sunday with 50.3 per cent of the vote from the 600 delegates.
Lessard-Therrien, a farmer, served a single term in Quebec’s national assembly, losing her seat in the western Quebec riding of Rouyn-Noranda – Temiscamingue to the governing Coalition Avenir Quebec party in the 2022 general election.
Sunday saw her defeat two party leadership candidates who have seats in the national assembly, Ruba Ghazal, who represents a central Montreal riding and Christine Labrie, who represents Sherbrooke, Que.
Lessard-Therrien campaigned on the necessity of reaching Quebecers who live outside of the province’s big cities, where Quebec solidaire has traditionally drawn its strongest support.
“It’s more clear than ever,” she said in her victory speech. “Quebec solidaire is the party for the whole of Quebec.”
Directing her speech to voters living outside the province’s major cities, she said she understands them and promised to speak about their concerns and to fight for them.
In her speech she praised her “sisters” in the race for their “excellent ideas” and said she hopes to continue working with them.
Earlier in the day, the party’s male co-spokesman, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, was given a new mandate with 90.1 per cent of delegates voting for him to continue in the role.
Lessard-Therrien replaces Manon Masse, who had been co-spokeswoman since 2017.