CAQ MNA crosses the aisle, becomes the first Conservative Party of Quebec MNA

Claire Samson, the elected member of the Quebec National Assembly for Iberville, recently announced that she would be joining the Conservative Party of Quebec and becoming the conservative’s first MNA, giving the party a presence in the Quebec National Assembly.

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Earlier this week, Samson was kicked out of the caucus of the Coalition Avenir Québec party when the leadership learned that Samson made a donation of $100 to the Quebec Conservative Party. 

By gaining a seat in the National assembly, the Conservative Party of Quebec achieves a major win. The party’s leader will now be allowed into the leader’s debate during the 2022 election, Samson will get to ask questions on behalf of the party and the party will get a presence in parliamentary commissions. The Conservatives will also get the privilege of press conferences from the National assembly. 

The CAQ is the current government in power in Quebec under the leadership of premier François Legault. For fifteen months, the Legault government has renewed the state of health emergency without parliamentary debate. 

Some CAQ MNAs inside the caucus have said that they have been largely ignored by Legault and the party. According to insiders, decisions are usually taken by Legault with little to no input from caucus MNAs who have been facing backlash and scrutiny from their constituency about the strict health measures. 

Samson also said she did not appreciate the premier’s defence of his minister Pierre Fitzgibbon, who was found guilty four times by the ethics commissioner. On every occasion, the premier minimized the offences until the ethics commissioner requested that Fitzgibbon be barred from his seat at the National assembly. 

The Legault government instructed its caucus to vote against the ethics commissioner’s report despite numerous MNAs feeling ‘uncomfortable’ about the vote. 

Last night, Samson met with the newly elected leader of the Conservative Party of Quebec, Eric Duhaime. They agreed that Samson would join the PCQ and a press conference was held this morning to announce it. 

Duhaime, a former radio station host and columnist, was elected leader of the Conservative Party of Quebec in April 2021. Since then, the party has jumped from barely 1% in voting intentions to 8% across the province. The party is also polling up to 16% in the Quebec City area. 

In 2021, the Conservative Party of Quebec ranked number 1 on the number of individual donors, showing the party’s strong momentum as Duhaime took its lead. 

The Conservative Party also has more members now than the party in power, the CAQ.

During Friday’s press conference, many journalists appeared hostile towards Duhaime and Samson, asking questions ranging from health measures to climate change. 

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