A senior Quebec member of the Liberal Party of Canada has resigned in protest, Maclean’s has learned.
Yves Malette has been director of operations with the party’s Quebec wing since September 2013. In a letter to Quebec party president Linda Julien, which Maclean’s has obtained, Malette cites a decrease in party resources devoted to Quebec—as well as the party’s increasing Ontario-centric power base.
“For some time now, the LPC’s priorities have been geared toward building and supporting the top of the pyramid, and the structures and resources have been centralized in Ottawa and Toronto, as opposed to being accessible to the membership, the organization and those running on-the-ground operations,” reads the letter dated Sept. 2.
Malette’s resignation letter is in sharp contrast to his public announcement of his departure, which the long-time organizer posted on his Facebook page. “I had extraordinary moments as director of operations … but now a new life plan is coming about for me!” reads the post, published on the same day as his resignation letter to the party. “I oversaw an extraordinary and unparallelled team that made its mark across Quebec. An extraordinary leader, determined candidates and passionate supporters! Everything is in place for a victory in the next elections!”
Malette didn’t respond to an interview request.
In an email to Maclean’s, chief Liberal organizer Pablo Rodriguez said he had a conversation with Malette following the latter’s resignation “in order to clear up certain elements raised” by Malette.
“Once [I] explained to him that additional resources were going to [be] allocated to the Quebec wing as the election approached, Mr. Malette said he was reassured and confident that we will have the resources to meet our ambitions. Mr. Malette said he wasn’t aware what we had in store for the Quebec wing of the party.”
In another email to Maclean’s, Rodriguez said Malette left his position “for personal reasons,” though Malette’s resignation letter didn’t mention any such thing. Asked to explain why Malette hadn’t mentioned any personal reasons, Rodriguez would only say that Malette was moving to Costa Rica. “I can’t say anything further,” Rodriguez wrote. “It’s his personal life.”
Malette’s resignation comes amidst growing criticism from Quebec Liberals that the party has become more Ontario-centric under Leader Justin Trudeau and his adviser. As Maclean’s reported in May, Trudeau lost four Quebecers from his inner circle since becoming Liberal leader in 2013. The Quebec wing also lost key positions within the party following a recent organizational streamlining effort. “The party is being run by English Canada,” former PLC (Q) director general Yves Lemire told Maclean’s.
At the time, Liberal spokesperson Michel Archambault chafed at the suggestion that Quebec had lost power at the expense of Ontario within the party. “It’s false, but you’re allowed your opinion,” Archambault told Maclean’s at the time, before hanging up.
As well, Liberal candidate Marc Miller was undermined when Maclean’s revealed that many people who voted for his nomination in the Montreal riding of Ville-Marie hadn’t paid for their membership cards—a violation of the Liberals’ own rules.
Here is Malette’s letter to the party (in French.)