(Quebec) The Liberal Party of Quebec (PLQ) must “question” its position on the political spectrum, believes the former Minister of Finance of Quebec, Monique Jérôme-Forget.

“We live in a world of change and the PLQ, I imagine that it will assess whether there is a place for him on the Quebec scene,” she said in an interview with La Presse Canadienne.

Monique Jérôme-Forget will take part in the celebrations on Saturday to mark the 20th anniversary of the coming to power of the Liberals of Jean Charest. She held several ministries under the leadership of the man who led Quebec for nine years.

Asked whether the PLQ still had a raison d’être, Ms. Jérôme-Forget answered in the affirmative. “I would be very sad if he didn’t have it, but I read foreign newspapers a lot and I witness drastic changes vis-à-vis the wishes of citizens,” said the former minister.

The former minister believes the revival group set up by the party to rethink its identity will “refresh” and “defend” liberal values.

“The PLQ has an overly absolutist conception of rights and freedoms”

Monique Jérôme-Forget is not the only one who believes that the PLQ must do some soul-searching. Former Canadian Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Benoît Pelletier thinks his former political party needs to “rediscover its nationalist fibers”.

According to Mr. Pelletier, rights and freedoms must be reconciled with the collective interest.

He also thinks that the next Liberal leader should embody this synthesis, but recognizes that the situation is difficult, because the Coalition avenir Québec occupies a lot of nationalist ground.

“It takes someone who is able to hold a nationalist discourse with conviction and not just for electoral purposes. At the same time, it takes someone who understands Canadian federalism well,” he explains.

Five hundred people are expected on Saturday to commemorate the rise to power of Jean Charest. Former collaborators of Mr. Charest, elected officials from different levels, friends and civil servants will be present.

Fourteen of the 19 Liberal MPs in the current caucus will also be there, including interim leader Marc Tanguay. The former Prime Minister will deliver a speech in front of his guests.

“Certain achievements of the Charest government are not well known and it is important to remember them […] A lot has been done under this government,” said Mr. Pelletier.

Former Minister of Finance Raymond Bachand will act as honorary co-president of the event with activist Karine Joizil.

On April 14, 2003, Jean Charest won a majority government with 76 members of the National Assembly. The Liberals won the election with 46% of the vote over the Parti Québécois and the Action Démocratique du Québec.

Among his achievements are the creation of the carbon market, the Generations Fund and the Council of the Federation.

The Charest reign ended abruptly with the maple spring. The increase in tuition fees decreed by the Liberals triggered a major mobilization that ended in the defeat of the Liberals and the victory of the PQ in 2012.

The Charest government has also been marred by allegations of corruption, although no charges have been brought against the former prime minister.

Recently, Mr. Charest won his case against the Quebec government, which he accused of having made his personal information public. Quebec will have to pay him $385,000.