Quebec Solidaire Wins a seat! Three cheers for Amir Khadir!

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Quebec Solidaire Wins a seat! Three cheers for Amir Khadir!

Enough about the Coalition government already!

Quebec just elected for the first time a member of Quebec solidaire, Amir Khadir. How come there are no articles on Rabble about it? It seems the CBC is more concerned with progressive, grassroots politics.





But CBC/Radio-Canada have much more of a budget). I'm sure there will be news on Québec solidaire - just give it time.

Wilf Day

Amir Khadir, in a low turnout, picked up 558 more votes than last year, while every other party lost votes.  

In Gouin, Françoise David appears to have picked up 6%, going from 26% last year to 32%. But this is a bit of an illusion. She actually picked up only 74 votes. In the low turnout, again every other party lost votes.

Charest's big victory was to win 48,518 more votes, going from 1,313,664 votes to 1,362,182.

ceti ceti's picture

As Al Franken is finding out, every vote counts.

ceti ceti's picture

Interestingly, on the CBC site, Mercier is glowing orange which seems to be the colour they have chosen.

martin dufresne

No one mentioned it but Mario Dumont stepped down as leader of the ADQ - although he was elected.

Quebec Solidaire's strategy of focussing their forces on a small number of key ridings paid off with the election of Amir. I have just returned from the Medley downtown, and the atmosphere was delirious -- although of course we're all saddened that Françoise didn't eke past her opponent. Manon Massé, May Chiu, Ruba Ghazal, François Saillant and Bill Clennett all made a strong showing in their districts.

Full results at

In summary: An openly feminist, ecologist, socialist party elects a candidate who is a tremendous motivator and one that will grill Charest more than the PQ ever did. And the ADQ is practically out of the picture. Bliss!


Didn't Khadir defeat BQ/PQ party stalwart Daniel Turp?  That is an impressive achievement.


But isn't Quebec Solidaire more sovereigntist than the PQ?  In this case, I am a federalist before I am a progressive.


But if Quebec Solidaire is more like the BQ and Duceppe, with sovereignty on the "backburner", then one certainly is sympathetic.  


Oh dear. I do find it distressing that anyone would be either a federalist or sovereignist before being a progressive...

QS certainly didn't win over PQ on the basis of the national question.

I didn't make it to the Medley because I'm still hovering over Renzo and making sure he is well fed and kept warm. He is skin and bones, but seems healthy.


I'm happy about Khadir's win, but apparently not everyone is. Just found this WSWS article that is less than optimistic about QS. How popular in Quebec is this notion that QS is little more than a centre-left extension of the Parti Quebecois?


I loooooove the left! "You won a seat! Sell-out!"

Socrates Socrates's picture

skarredmunkey wrote:

I'm happy about Khadir's win, but apparently not everyone is. Just found this WSWS article that is less than optimistic about QS. How popular in Quebec is this notion that QS is little more than a centre-left extension of the Parti Quebecois?

 Ah dear... Now that we have a seat I see the sectarian knives are coming out...

This article isn't entirely wrong in saying that QS draws a lot of support from disillusioned PQ supporters and certainly wants to push the PQ to the left.

But don't forget that the PQ, not all that long ago, was a very radically left party. They certainly are not any longer, and the QS is the fulfillment of a movement for many years to build a genuinely progressive party in Quebec to occupy the space vacated by the PQ.

This trashing of them for not being revolutionary enough is garbage though. They are certainly as far left as you can go and be elected (before this election many would have said they were too far left to elect anyone). The NDP, and indeed QS, are certainly not perfect. But unless you'd like to go vote for the Marxist Leninists and try to boost their vote total over 100 in any given riding, these parties are our best hope and strongest defence against neo-liberal governments. 

It would be a lot more helpful if these socialist/communist organizations who spend all their time accusing the left of not being left enough would instead devote their energy to attacking Harper, Charest et al. Once we have a federal NDP government and a provincial QS government they can go to town on these parties, in the meantime its pretty counterproductive.


Well, Socrates got there before I did. QS came from real live movements. If they're not quoting Scripture well enough to suit some people, I guess that's unfortunate. You'd think that by the 21st century, leftists would have learned some appreciation for the importance of uniting in a common cause, and then debating the angels on a pin thingy in their spare time.

As for wanting to push the PQ to the left, when did that become a cardinal sin?


skarredmunkey wrote:

I'm happy about Khadir's win, but apparently not everyone is. Just found this WSWS article that is less than optimistic about QS. How popular in Quebec is this notion that QS is little more than a centre-left extension of the Parti Quebecois?


Well, it's the WSWS - what did you expect? Wink 

martin dufresne

Québec Solidaire is a coalition of small parties and organizations that have built its platform over the last two years. One of these organizations in the Parti communiste du Québec... a fact which fueled a few right-wing diatribes against QS during the last election. e.g. this one by schlock jock Richard Martineau. So not all marxist-leninists are on the outside pissing in...


That's a good point, Martin. I wish I'd made it myself Smile I didn't mean to criticize marxist-leninists in general. The WSWS is kind of a thing unto itself. (They do have some good articles, though.)


They are a funny site - obviously a very sectarian bunch, but sometimes (when they don't have a dog in the fight) they can be exceptionally good in their analysis - in particular about cultural matters. Very odd operation - often their writing is much more pertinent and less wooden than the Sparts, for example.

They have a very anglo-chauvinist outlook to the Québec national movement.

I'd think it would be wonderful to win over left PQers to working-class politics; PQ has a strong working-class base.


lagatta wrote:
I'd think it would be wonderful to win over left PQers to working-class politics; PQ has a strong working-class base.

Tell me about it! Certainly among unionized workers (and we're still running in the mid-30 percentage points of unionization here), PQ is virtually unquestioned. It's hard to make the case for QS, but the PQ's rightist pandering makes it easier all the time. Still,  to divide workers based on pro-PQ vs. pro-QS would be damaging and dumb. Dumber still to condemn them all without offering a clear-cut alternative.

There are lots of reasons why a worker will vote for one party or another, and platform isn't always primary. Having a multiplicity of parties vying for similar constituencies isn't necessarily bad, so long as their militants learn to cooperate with each other.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Wow, I just saw this. What great news! Congratulations Amir!


"Des souliers lourds à porter"

Le journal Le Soleil rapporte dans son édition de dimanche
qu'un enseignant du Cégep de Sainte-Foy, Gilbert Gagnon, a décidé de
porter plainte auprès du président de l'Assemblée nationale contre le
nouveau député de Mercier, Amir Khadir.

M. Gagnon considère que le fait d'avoir lancé des chaussures en
direction d'une photographie du président américain sortant Georges W.
Bush la semaine dernière, devant le consulat américain à Montréal, est
indigne des devoirs d'un représentant du peuple.

Le 20 décembre dernier, le député de Québec solidaire a en effet
participé à une manifestation de solidarité envers le journaliste
irakien qui a lancé deux chaussures en direction du président américain
lors d'un point de presse à Bagdad. Le journaliste voulait ainsi
dénoncer l'intervention militaire américaine en Irak. Muntazer al-Zaidi
est détenu depuis et accusé d'agression contre un chef d'État étranger
lors d'une visite officielle ...



Are you starting a collection of assholes? First Beryl Wajsman, now Gilbert Gagnon?

Mr. Gagnon can't possibly consider that Muntazer al-Zaidi's action was laudable, if he has gone to the trouble of condemning Amir Khadir's.

We are, therefore, now in possession of the name of the first person in Québec who does not cheer and applaud at al-Zaidi's heroic gesture.



No, I'm not, anymore than you are starting a collection of untenable absolutes.  If it's not numbers, one is just guessing, educated or not.


What was your purpose in quoting that item, todd?


This also appeared in (La Presse and associates) Pardon my long urls - on a Mac I can't see any device for linking urls on this new site...

I'm wondering who this rightwing shithead is, who opposes the right to take part in peaceful protest (and I was there; it was very peaceful indeed: "Bush" was a target on a cloth banner).

It kind of upset me, after returning from the Palestine demo (once again, a very peaceful affair) and chatting with Dr Khadir (and many other interesting people including Robert (Bicycle Bob) Silverman).


It was newsworthy and noteworthy to the Queen's network.  It demonstrates the kind of coverage and opposition Khadir has to look forward to over the next 4 - 5 years.  As Bush would say, "Bring it on."  Khadir should be up to it.


You really don't understand anything, do you? Khadir was taking part in a peaceful demonstration in support of a journalist who is jailed and has been tortured for his manifestation of contempt to a mass war criminal who has the blood of hundreds of thousands of people on his hands.

Are you completely unaware of what is going on in the world, outside your angryphone obsession?


Of course I am aware; I subscribe to among many distinct sources.

From what I posted, how in the world did you come to the accusation you lobbed above like a pair of shoes?




I unfortunately can't read the quoted text, with my understanding of french being minimal at best, but it seems to have sparked quite the response. I feel ill-equipped to moderate, without understanding it fully. One thing I can say, is lets lay off personal attacks, but again, I apologize -- I'm in the dark here.


Some idiot named Gilbert Gagnon has made an official complaint about Amir Khadir taking part in a peaceful protest that included tossing a shoe at a picture of Bush. 

Todd appears to have a hate-on for M Khadir, but prefers to quote others (here and elsewhere) so he can then act all innocent when challenged. 


I don't hate Khadir. Nor do I love him.  He's a progressive politician, so he has earned my critical support.

If I quote a news story, or an opinion piece, it is, to quote Orwell:

" ... because there is some lie that I want to expose, [or] some fact to which I want to draw attention, and my initial concern is to get a hearing ..." ['Why I Write'] 


"... It is also true that one can write nothing readable unless one constantly struggles to efface one's own personality. Good prose is like a windowpane. I cannot say with certainty which of my motives are the strongest, but I know which of them deserve to be followed ..."[Ibid.]

That ought to suffice, by George.


A lot of us here in Quebec didn't think much of Khadir's childish shoe-thowing and his response to Gagnon's very thoughtful complaint to the National Assembly.  Khadir's reply was ridiculous for a Member of Parliament  "Bush est un menteur, etc. etc."  Khadir's job is here in the National Assembly, and in his riding.




Rikardo, fuck off.

How long until this right-wing troll gets banned?


Suppose the above is a co-thinker of the notorious rightwing misogynist Richard Martineau, the same who accused those damned feminists of "politicising" the Polytechnique Massacre:

The insinuation that Khadir likes or excuses Iranian theocrats is too funny for words!


Unionist wrote:
Well, Socrates got there before I did. QS came from real live movements. If they're not quoting Scripture well enough to suit some people, I guess that's unfortunate. You'd think that by the 21st century, leftists would have learned some appreciation for the importance of uniting in a common cause, and then debating the angels on a pin thingy in their spare time.
As for wanting to push the PQ to the left, when did that become a cardinal sin?

WSWS also bought into the Liberal Party talking points about how the NDP was wrong to "team up" with the Conservatives to throw out the Liberals. I don't put much stock in their analysis.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Elected Dec. 8 in Mercier riding - by the ever-rebellious voters of the Plateau Mont Royal - Khadir has since come under fire for hurling his shoes at an effigy of George W. Bush and speaking out against the Israeli offensive in Gaza.

A career politician would try to avoid or downplay the controversy.

Not Khadir. In an interview last week, he brought it up, then faced it down.

"I don't want to be 'balanced,' " said Khadir, 47. "To be 'balanced' in the face of aggression is to support aggression. ... People have elected me to have opinions. People who voted for me here in Mercier did it knowing I was different and they expect me to take a stand.

"But me intervening in defending Gaza doesn't mean I support Hamas," continued Khadir, who wants to become a member of the Quebec-Israel Committee, which has denounced him as "morally bankrupt."

"It just means that this aggression is not acceptable. ... I will act exactly the same way on any issue concerning Quebec."

Taking a stand is what Khadir does, and it's what has earned him comparisons on the one hand to Carolyn Parrish, the disgraced former Liberal MP who famously stomped on a Bush doll on television, and on the other hand to René Lévesque, as some see in Khadir the most charismatic Quebec politician - and sovereignist - since Lévesque.

"As an MNA I feel completely free to say and do what is in the interests of my constituents," Khadir said, including throwing shoes at a symbol of "lies, manipulation, war and destruction." Khadir insists he would never have thrown shoes at the real Bush.

Arriving in Canada from Iran at age 10, he founded the first committee to help new immigrants adjust to Quebec student life just four years later.

He went on to study first physics, at Université de Montréal and McGill University, then medicine at Université Laval. He has been a specialist in infectious diseases at Le Gardeur hospital in Repentigny since 1997.

[url=The"> Gazette[/url]


[url=Lysiane"> Gagnon[/url] writes in her column in the Globe and Mail today that Francoise David is a decent sort of person while Amir Khadir is a crazy person.  While those specific words are mine and not hers, I've put them in her mouth (I suppose, technically, "in her font") just to shorten the underlying message.  I doubt anyone reading that article would conclude her intent was otherwise.  To me, her column implies that Quebec Solidaire might have some good points to raise, but that the "wrong people" have prominence within the party.  Quite a smear job. 


Thanks for that Robo, it has been forwarded to comrades in Québec solidaire. That rightwing piece of filth has not only maligned Dr Khadir, but stereotyped the residents of Mercier - where many people are under the poverty line and has an average income only slightly higher than Mtl averages - that isn't where "real" money is, and why on earth is a JOURNALIST badmouthing people in the arts and letters as BOBOs? - and come up with a pack of lies about our large, peaceful demonstration in solidarity with the people of Gaza.

That scum owes her BOBO standard of living to very militant action by journalists over the years - shoe throwing is nothing to the actions I've seen my journo friends involved in back when. Sellout. Slime.

Not to mention islamophobia. Cripes, I'm an atheist, but "Alla Akbar" simply means "God is Great" (or "God is greater" than the oppressor), and that is exactly the same sentiment as commonly expressed in civil rights movements in South Africa and the southern US singing "God bless Africa" or "We shall overcome" (very much a hymn).

And what has Françoise David's personal style got to do with anything?

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Martin, whatever one might say about you, you give good letter.

martin dufresne

My own comment to the Gob&Male:

"Gagnon never ceases to amuse. "by far the most left-wing party in Quebec," she sputters. Out of a field of how many? Or is she reserving the right to call the PQ left-wing if it ever breaks from its centre-right stasis?
Also, God forbid we ever have a "flamboyant" politician in Quebec! If it took an Amir Khadir to have Gagnon describe a "feminist activist" such as Quebec Solidaire co-leader Francoise David as "poised and soft-spoken", so be it! I am sure your editorialist will pull out sharper knives the next time David takes a stand against systemic oppression.
Still, it is sad that the power of the press allows an ill-minded ideologue to spread disinformation about a popular demonstration and put a vicious spin on it for anyone who wasn't there. I was at the more than 5,000-strong demonstration against Israel's war crimes in Gaza, and it was absolutely non-violent, contrary to the carnage being waged in our name (and with Canadian weaponry) over there, with the scandalous support of MM. Harper and Ignatieff.
The shame of Canada having been the only country in the world to vote *against* a ceasefire in Gaza eight days ago at the U.N. will take a long time to live down... and I suspect that right-wing relics such as Ms. Gagnon will be of no help whatsoever."

martin dufresne

Much obliged...Smile If I could only abstain from alliterations...


Apropos of security and solidarity:

... Anthropologist Jeff Halper, co-founder of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions ... a Jew who was born in Minnesota and lives in Jerusalem, said Israel is misleading people when it says it's acting out of concern for security ...

Halper's appearance in Montreal has made waves. He was scheduled to speak at the Gelber Centre, the city's main Jewish community centre, tonight at 7 in an event organized by the Independent Jewish Voices of Montreal. But that speech was cancelled amid security fears ...

Halper said the cancellation amounted to censorship, and the Jewish community outside Israel is reluctant to criticize Israel ...




"Don't you wish you could vote yourself a raise like these?"

Recession? What recession? Not for Sylvie Roy and Marc Picard. This week the two Action démocratique du Québec members of the National Assembly received salary increases of 35 and 25 per cent respectively ...

Even the usually non-conformist lone MNA for Québec solidaire, Amir Khadir, went along with the ADQ pay-raise bill, which set a precedent on which QS may some day be able to cash in ...

Remember all this the next time you hear somebody in the ADQ complain about taxpayers' money being squandered, or the education reform that promotes pupils to the next grade even if they haven't earned it. (Or the next time you hear a member of any party pin the blame for public cynicism on the press instead of where it rightly belongs: on the actions of politicians themselves.) ...


martin dufresne

Trust toddsschneider to pull out of one more Montreal Gazette hate-laced Op-Ed the paragraph were Don McPherson singles out the only Left politician in the Assemblée Nationale, eschewing MacPherson's critique of Mario Dumont and Monique Jérome-Forget's "transition allowances".


Here's the QS [url=release[/url]">, but I'm too lazy to translate it, so here's the Gazette version (not too prejudicial for a change):

[url=Khadir"> looks to "kiwi plan" for drug savings[/url]

Amir Khadir, a medical doctor and the only Québec solidaire MNA in the National Assembly, believes the province could save up to $2 billion a year by adopting the "kiwi plan," as he calls New Zealand's approach to negotiating drug prices. [...]

Khadir noted that when Quebec started its pharmacare plan in 1998, offering prescription drug insurance to Quebecers not covered by their employers' private insurance plans, the cost was $980 million a year.

Now prescription coverage costs $3.4 billion a year, Khadir said, recalling that Russell Williams, then Liberal MNA for West Island Nelligan riding, conceived the present drug purchasing plan.

Williams was subsequently named president of Rx&D, an association representing pharmaceutical companies in Canada, Khadir noted, questioning the ethics of Williams's appointment.

Khadir explained that in New Zealand, the government negotiates drug prices and limits copies of leading products to cases where patients might have reactions to the main product. For example, he said, there are 10 products to treat high cholesterol, but they're all similar. The government can negotiate a better price by dealing with only one or two producers.


I eschew nothing, besides the facile (and faulty) description that Macpherson is among the hate-mongers. One need not be a nationalist skeptic to recognize a venal move among the Quebec political class, but it never hurts.

Besides, Macpherson spares no legislative party in this critique, left, right or centre, so he singles out no one in particular.

I posted the the link to the whole article for any interested (but fair-minded) readers to come to their own conclusions. I can't wait to see the Quebec solidaire press release on this one.


Todd, MacPherson's article is biased and scandalmongering as always. Bill 36 was not about raising anyone's pay. It did give party recognition to the ADQ with its 6 members (which would bring their leader's pay in line with other leaders - big scandal), plus introduce other reforms - none of which he talks about.

Here's a more [url=sane"> story[/url] which criticizes the Bill for not going far enough (failing to establish a code of conduct and a sort of ethics commissioner), but not for what it did include.



What other reforms? More participation by regular deputies? As noted in your link, Quebec is the only province without a commissioner of political ethics, an issue that has been current forever, and been given public lip service for about 06 years. So why the unseemly haste now?

The fact that the bill and motion hiking salaries for the previously ineligible, and patently unneedy, members involved -- unanimously, and without debate -- should raise a blue flag for concerned citizens.

Of course, Mr. Hatemonger dealt with the issue of political reform and the ethics commissioner in his very previous column, but why spoil a good argument with facts?

I couldn't resist including the Babelfish translation of one paragraph:"Quebec, which acted as figurehead in Canada for its democratic life in decades 70 and 80, in particular with its law on the financing of the parties, is last today of class."

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

‘Beyond capitalism’?: Québec Solidaire Launches Debate On Its Program For Social Transformation

The debate on the social and economic issues that were the subject of the March convention promised to reveal an underlying tension within the party that has existed from the outset – one that is familiar to virtually all broadly based organizations and parties of the left. The QS policy commission put the issue directly in its “participation booklet,” a preliminary document posing questions for discussion by the membership:

“As we work on our program, we should spell out the nature and limits of the system, and ask ourselves the following question: isn't the capitalist system, based as it is on maximizing profit and irresponsible exploitation of nature, the main obstacle to social progress and a healthy relationship to the environment? We need a serious debate on the question so we can determine whether our social problems can be corrected by reforms that respect the logic of the system or if we need to adopt the perspective of going beyond the system.”

This was also the question put by the Québec solidaire leadership in a Manifesto they issued for May Day 2009, entitled “To emerge from the crisis, should we go beyond capitalism?” Although the Manifesto's specific proposals to overcome the crisis generally failed to go much beyond a timid social liberalism, its anti-capitalist rhetoric met with a very favourable response in the QS ranks. Some members were more critical, however. Among these were François Cyr and Pierre Beaudet. In an article published just as the debate was getting under way, with the suggestive title “Québec solidaire must remain a rainbow coalition,” they argued that the task of a left-wing party is “to fight for immediate changes, realizable within the framework of the present capitalist state and system.”

“The very essence of a large mass party,” they wrote, is that it is “a permanent coalition capable of carrying out the compromises and arbitration that are necessary both in terms of program and the internal equilibrium of its networks.” Québec solidaire should “avoid confining itself to a terrain that is too limited.... it is necessary to unite all those who want to oppose neoliberalism and reaction....”

“It is an error to think that the socialist perspective, even in its most interesting recent developments (ecosocialism, for example) now constitutes an alternative in Quebec. It must be admitted, it is not.”

A few QS members responded to Cyr and Beaudet with their own articles. Roger Rashi, a member of the party's theme commission on environment and energy and of Masse critique, a recognized collective within QS, wrote:

“It is necessary to deepen the basis of unity of Québec solidaire by exploring the ultimate goal of the struggle against neoliberalism, by outlining the basic framework of an alternative, ecological, democratic and self-managed society without social inequality and without poverty, in other words an ecosocialist society. This does not mean eliminating Québec solidaire's character as a political united front, or if you prefer a rainbow coalition, but it does mean getting this united front to evolve toward going beyond the capitalist system. The objective and subjective conditions are favourable to such an evolution.”

QS members André Frappier, a Montréal leader of the postal workers' union (CUPW), and Bernard Rioux, a member of the Gauche socialiste collective, argued the case for programmatic clarity around a clear class line:

“...we must seek to attract broader layers of activists to Québec solidaire, in the popular, feminist and trade union movement. But will we do that by making programmatic compromises? And at what level, on what aspect? [Cyr and Beaudet] do not say. They argue that socialist ideas and practices have few roots among the people. That does not hold water. History is full of examples teaching us that the workers' movement learns from the struggle.... Whenever parties claiming to be on the left have not indicated clearly where the class interests of the workers' movement were situated, where the program confused mass struggle and class struggle, where the ruling classes' interests were not identified, on each of these occasions the workers' movement experienced a terrible defeat....

“What have we learned from the Popular Unity [government] in Chile? From the Popular Front in France? In neither case was the defeat of the workers' movement due to an exaggerated radicalism, and certainly not to a lack of broad alliances, but rather to the programmatic confusion that deprived it of all its resources and enabled the bourgeoisie to survive and regain the initiative.”



From Amir Khadir's Facebook page:

Le 27 mars QS a lancé un appel à toute la population québécoise de voter contre les conservateurs et n'appuie officiellement aucune formation politique fédérale. QS invite à choisir des candidats-es travaillant pour justice sociale, la défense de la culture et de la langue française, l'égalité entre les hommes et les femmes, le développement d'une économie verte et le respect des droits de la personne.

My translation:

On March 27, QS called on all Quebeckers to vote against the Conservatives. We do not officially support any federal political party. QS urges people to choose candidates who work for social justice, the defence of the French language and culture, equality between men and women, the development of a green economy, and respect for human rights.




Conditional discharge for Quebec politician's daughter in 2012 student protest case

Machouf-Khadir, who aspires to become a lawyer, pleaded guilty to taking part in the ransacking of the Quebec education minister's office as well as vandalism that occurred during protests at a Montreal junior college and a university.

Machouf-Khadir previously pleaded guilty to several charges including mischief, breaking-and-entering, conspiracy to commit mischief and wearing a disguise.

Quebec court Judge Jean-Pierre Boyer says he believes the remorse the accused has shown is sincere remorse and that she realizes that people would have felt threatened by her actions.


Yes, I'm very relieved.

Er, back when (think the Common Front struggle in 1972, though I was still a teenager and not in a union yet, but was working) and throughout the 1970s, some among us did a lot of "redecorating" as a very funny old comrade put it, that would make Yalda's efforts seem very benign indeed.