The opening of the vote to supporters for the election of the next leader did not create a wave of membership in the Parti Québécois.
A little less than a thousand people have registered under the status of sympathizer in order to be able to vote on October 9, according to information from our Parliamentary Bureau.
The Parti Québécois had opened the election to non-members in the hope of attracting new people to its leadership race. The idea of allowing the status of sympathizer had been proposed in the past, in particular by Alexandre Cloutier, without being accepted by the party.
Like other political parties, the PQ has seen its membership decline in recent years. From 73,236 members in good standing on the night of Jean-François Lisée's election, the party had grown to 47,605 party card holders after its historic defeat in 2018.
Today, the formation has a little less than 35,000 members, according to our sources. The party is expected to unveil the official tally next week.
Pandemic and DGEQ rules
There may be a few reasons why the race attracted so few supporters. By comparison, the campaign that led Justin Trudeau to head the Liberal Party of Canada in 2013 tripled the party's membership, most of whom were new supporters registered for free.
A PQ source points out that the current race took place in the midst of a pandemic. “It is not easy to get people without gatherings,” one emphasizes. In addition, unlike the example of the PLC at the federal level, interested persons had to become “temporary members” and pay $ 5, in order to comply with the rules of the Chief Electoral Officer in Quebec.
Another PQ source, however, chooses to see the glass half full. “These are 1000 people who were not with us in the past”, it is argued.
The Parti Québécois declined to comment on the information from our parliamentary office.