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Quebec Liberals at odds with federal Liberals

The Liberal Party of Quebec has reached an agreement to merge with the disaffected Quebec Solidaire party to become the new center-left party that likely will win control of the province’s legislature in October’s election.

Partnership talks between the two left-leaning forces began last year and remain publicly uncertain. The Liberals are in opposition in the National Assembly as Quebec’s traditional centre-right party, the Parti Quebecois, was crippled in 2017 when its leader was forced to step down amid allegations of sexual harassment.

Democratic Independents, a political organization comprised of several former PQ MNAs, are in the process of deciding whether to support a merger between the two left-leaning groups or join forces with Solidaire.

A merger of forces between the Liberals and Solidaire is a growing threat to the federal Liberal Party, which has long sought to increase its share of Quebec’s popular vote.

The Liberals have had a substantial advantage over their federal cousins in recent elections in Ontario, which is roughly the size of Quebec, and in B.C., where Canadian voters overwhelmingly chose the Liberals in the May 2017 election over the then-Conservative Party of Canada.

In the 2016 federal election, nearly 10 percent of Canadians voted for the Green Party of Canada in Quebec. The party captured 4.2 percent of the vote in Ontario. The Liberal Party of Canada obtained just 8.3 percent of the Quebec vote in 2015, which it won by claiming an historic majority in Ottawa.

In 2003, the Liberal Party of Canada won just 10.9 percent of the Quebec vote in the federal election. The Charest Liberals took over and almost immediately overturned that record-low number.

Quebec Liberals have riven with dissent and personality conflicts, especially following Quebec’s passage of the charter of values in 2015. The charter mandates all religions that open their institutions to Quebecers be Muslim, Jewish, or have a spiritual leader of French speaking ethnicity.

Quebec Solidaire, which was formed in 2013, ranks 14th in popular support in the country.

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