Marie-Claude Nichols refuses to rejoin the Quebec Liberal caucus
There’s a new setback for Quebec Liberal leader Dominique Anglade: Vaudreuil MNA Marie-Claude Nichols refused on Tuesday to take the offer made to her the day before to return to the Liberal caucus.
After 24 hours of reflection following a meeting with Anglade, Nichols decided: there is no way she will return to the Liberal fold, because she no longer has confidence in the leader of the official opposition following her expulsion from the caucus last Thursday.
The split between the two has therefore been confirmed.
Anglade is expected to respond in writing to this new rebuff later in the day Tuesday.
Nichols emailed her response to members of the official opposition caucus at noon Tuesday. She criticized Anglade’s leadership style.
On Monday, saying she was looking for a ‘way out,’ Anglade made the media rounds to say she had met earlier with the ousted MNA to ‘reach out’ to her and invite her back to her leadership team. She didn’t say whether she had set conditions for a possible return.
Last Thursday, the discourse was totally different: Nichols was expelled from the caucus, with caucus chair Enrico Ciccone saying she was not a ‘team player.’ She was accused of refusing the shadow cabinet position being offered by the leader. Nichols wanted a position as deputy speaker of the national assembly, which she was denied.
Instead, Anglade offered her the position of transport critic, which she declined, preferring to play no role in the official opposition, a position that set off a firestorm and led to her immediate expulsion.
The decision, considered by some to be out of line, immediately caused an uproar and led to public disapproval from many Liberals, including several former MNAs and ministers, who did not hesitate to conclude that the Anglade’s leadership would be undermined.
In the last few days, Anglade decided to reverse her decision and try to get closer to the MNA she had repudiated a few days earlier. But the damage was done. The MNA for Vaudreuil, re-elected under the Liberal banner for a third term on Oct. 3, will therefore sit in the National Assembly as an independent MNA.
On Monday, Anglade had reaffirmed that Nichols would not have the position she coveted of deputy speaker of the National Assembly reserved for the official opposition, confirming at the same time that it would go to the MNA for Viau, Frantz Benjamin, who has remained silent since the beginning of the debacle.
The Liberal caucus is now composed of 20 MNAs, instead of the 21 elected on Oct. 3.
Caucus chair Enrico Ciccone, who played a role in the mess, has also remained silent since Thursday, refusing all requests for an interview. On Monday, the leader reaffirmed his confidence in him.
– This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Nov. 1, 2022