Former mayoral candidate for Montreal Balarama Holness, has decided to try his hand in provincial politics with the creation of a new party, Mouvement Québec. Holness travelled to Quebec City to announce his intention to create, a new party to run in the Quebec elections next October.
Holness who was a former soccer player for the Montreal Alouettes where he helped them win the Grey Cup Championship in 2010. After injuries cut short his career, he decided to join politics in 2017 under Projet Montreal in the Montreal municipal election for borough mayor of Montreal North. He didn’t win but continued to help around within the community as an activist.
“We want to be the party that represents all Quebecers, and particularly Montrealers, that feel like they have no representation at the National Assembly,” he is quoted as saying.
“It’s a party founded on Quebec values. From inclusion, to equality, to diversity, to justice, to le vivre ensemble (social harmony), we’re going to be a party that unites Quebecers.”
The party would want to bring reform Bill 21 Act the secularism bill and Bill 96, which aims to reform the Quebec Charter of the French Language.
According to Mr. Holness, this reform could cause an exodus from Montreal’s English-speaking community. “We have a Bill 96 that is highly problematic for many Montrealers and, in addition, Bill 21. We are not a party that will just focus on these laws, but also on issues that affect Montrealers such as the economy, the environment and housing,” he is quoted as saying.
The party was unable to meet the deadline of April 1 to submit its documents. Mr. Holness, explained that this delay was caused by the replacement of his official agent by a more qualified person in finance and accounting. “Our official agent did not necessarily have financial experience managing such a file,” he explained.
Earlier, during a press briefing held before the National Assembly, Mr. Holness said he wanted to present about thirty candidates under the banner of Mouvement Québec, mainly in the Montreal area, in anticipation of the October election.
Mouvement Québec opposes in particular the Act respecting the secularism of the State and Bill 96, which aims to reform the Quebec Charter of the French Language.
According to Mr. Holness, this reform could cause an exodus from Montreal’s English-speaking community. “We have a Bill 96 that is highly problematic for many Montrealers and, in addition, Bill 21. We are not a party that will just focus on these laws, but also on issues that affect Montrealers such as the economy, the environment and housing.”
When asked about Holness’s new party at a news conference Wednesday, Quebec Premier François Legault responded by defending Bill 96.
“I want my children and grandchildren to speak in French, so we’ll continue to take measures to protect French. It’s not against the anglophones.”
Mouvement Québec hopes to carve out a place for itself in the electoral districts held by the Quebec Liberal Party (QLP). According to Holness the Liberals displeased in proposing to include in Bill 96 an obligation for students in English-speaking CEGEPs to take three courses in French.
“The Montrealers were the ones who asked us to get started,” Holness is quoted as saying. “They are currently concerned about the leadership of the QLP. The QLP takes English-speaking and ethnocultural voting as a vested interest.”
In the municipal elections last November, Balarama Holness won 7% of the votes in November municipal vote.