Montreal

Dominique Anglade to be first to throw hat into Quebec Liberal leadership race

The MNA for Saint-Henri—Sainte-Anne, the economic development and trade minister under Philippe Couillard, is expected to make her bid official Thursday morning in Shawinigan, according to Radio-Canada.

Former economic development and trade minister is expected to make bid official Thursday

The minister of economic development, innovation and trade under Philippe Couillard, Dominique Anglade is expected to announce her candidacy for the PLQ leadership Thursday. (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press)

Dominique Anglade, a former provincial Liberal cabinet minister, is poised to become the first person to announce her bid for the leadership of the Quebec Liberal Party (PLQ).

The MNA for Saint-Henri–Sainte-Anne is expected to make her leadership run official Thursday morning at a news conference in Shawinigan, according to Radio-Canada.

Anglade is among the best-known figures in the pool of potential leadership candidates. She served as minister of economic development, innovation and trade under Premier Philippe Couillard and is currently the party's spokesperson on economic and immigration issues.

She was a founding member of the Coalition Avenir Québec, running unsuccessfully for that party in Fabre in 2012 and serving as CAQ president from 2012 to 2013 before defecting to the Liberals.

Within the Liberal Party, she's known for advocating for a stronger position on religious symbols.

The PLQ has traditionally opposed barring police officers, judges and prison guards from wearing religious symbols while at work. Anglade has said she is open to those restrictions, although she is opposed to the CAQ government's new law on religious symbols, which extends that ban to public teachers, as well.

Currently her party's critic on economic and immigration issues, Dominique Anglade would become the first person from a visible minority to lead a major Quebec political party, should she win her PLQ leadership bid. (Sylvain Roy Roussel/CBC)

Anglade, an engineer by training, worked as a consultant, and after leaving the CAQ in 2013, she headed Montreal International, an agency that promotes international investment in the city. 

Should she win, Anglade would become the first visible minority to lead one of Quebec's major political parties. 

New leader will be chosen next year

The Liberal leadership race officially begins this fall, with a leader to be chosen at a party convention in spring 2020.

The PLQ has been under the direction of interim leader Pierre Arcand since the party suffered a historic defeat in the 2018 provincial election.

The party lost more than half its seats in the October vote, after which Couillard resigned as party leader and gave up his seat in the National Assembly.

Since then, a number of people have expressed interest in the leadership role, including Anglade and former health minister Gaétan Barrette, former culture minister Marie Montpetit and first-time MNA Marwah Rizqy.

Pierre Moreau, André Fortin and Sébastien Proulx, all prominent former Liberal cabinet ministers, have announced that they don't intend to run.

The rules of the leadership race were made public at a party meeting in May.

Instead of using a one-member, one-vote method for choosing their leader, the Liberals have opted for a point system. 

The winner must receive more than 50 per cent of the total points accumulated from 125 ridings.

There will be a total of five debates, one of which will be in English.

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