QUEBEC — The struggling Parti Quebecois has suffered another setback with a decision by the Speaker relegating it to fourth place in the provincial legislature.
Francois Paradis ruled today that the departure of Catherine Fournier, who last week quit the PQ to sit as an Independent, means the party is now officially the third opposition party behind the Liberals and Quebec solidaire.
For the first time since its creation in 1968, the PQ is no longer the leading sovereigntist party in the national assembly, eclipsed by the 13-year-old Quebec solidaire.
Fournier said she had lost faith in the PQ’s ability to achieve independence. Her departure left the PQ with nine seats compared with 10 for Quebec solidaire. The Liberals have 29.
The PQ had argued it should maintain its status as the second opposition party because that was what had been decided in an all-party agreement reached last November after the election won by the Coalition Avenir Quebec.
The reduced status means the PQ will have less speaking time in the legislature and will be moved to the back of the opposition benches.