Ruba Ghazal to run again for Québec Solidaire co-spokesperson

Ruba Ghazal is campaigning to become the next female spokesperson for Québec Solidaire. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada - image credit)

Ruba Ghazal, MNA for the Montreal riding of Mercier, is the first candidate to put her name forward for Québec Solidaire (QS)'s vacant female co-spokesperson role.

She made the announcement Wednesday morning at La Fontaine Park, surrounded by activists, including the former spokesperson for housing rights group FRAPRU, François Saillant, and former QS candidate Laura Avalos, emphasizing that she would base her campaign on "party unity" and a "love for Quebec."

The election to succeed Émilise Lessard-Therrien, who resigned in April, has not been launched officially, but it will be in the coming weeks.

Ghazal finished second when she ran for the position last fall — only three votes behind Lessard-Therrien, who served in the role for five months. She stepped down on April 29, noting that QS had become "tightly woven" around her counterpart, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, whom she accused of having undue influence over the party.

After Lessard-Therrien's departure, Sherbrooke MNA Christine Labrie, who finished in third and last place for the previous co-spokesperson election, agreed to serve in the interim role, with the understanding that she would not be able to run for the position in the upcoming race.

At the QS general convention last month, delegates chose to have a short campaign, allowing them to elect a new spokesperson during a virtual convention from Nov. 15 to 17.

A dedicated sovereignist

An elected member since 2018, Ghazal campaigned last year by putting forward her sovereignist beliefs, namely her support for the Option Nationale and its former leader, Sol Zannetti. The party merged with QS in 2018.

She also led QS's recent campaign to promote sovereignty.

Born in Lebanon to a Palestinian family, Ghazal has made several comments in the National Assembly and in the media on the Israel-Hamas war, calling for an immediate ceasefire.

Three weeks ago, she stood up at the Salon Bleu dressed in a keffiyeh to demand the closure of Quebec's office in Tel Aviv.

The resignation of Lessard-Therrien, six months after former QS MNA Catherine Dorion published a tell-all book, plunged QS into a crisis, a few weeks before its general convention, where the party adopted the "Saguenay declaration" and committed to updating its platform.

Since then, the adoption of a law temporarily limiting landlords' eviction rights and strengthening protections for elderly tenants helped the party redirect media attention toward its policies.

The bill was sponsored by Minister France-Élaine Duranceau at the invitation of opposition parties, including QS which had been pushing for a moratorium on evictions and rental protections for seniors for years.

In his end-of-session report last week, Nadeau-Dubois said he was delighted that his party had managed to make legislative gains despite the upheavals it experienced in recent months.

"Things got heated, but we delivered," he said at a news conference at the National Assembly on Friday.