Pascale Fortin official candidate for QS in Arthabaska

On Saturday afternoon, members of Québec Solidaire (QS) in the county of Arthabaska unanimously voted Pascale Fortin, a 33-year-old nurse and mother of two children, as their candidate for the general election of the month of October. The inauguration brought together nearly thirty members at the Arthabaska Community Center, including Sherbrooke MNA Christine Labrie.

The new candidate always knew she would one day enter politics. The desire to help motivated Pascale Fortin to enter the political arena. “As a nurse I can help people on a small scale, one person at a time. But with everything going on in Quebec and in the world, it’s easy to feel helpless and overwhelmed by the events. But for me, politics is a way to have a little bit of control, make a difference and take concrete action to help ‘the’ people rather than a few people,” she said.

The solidarity candidate has already set certain priorities for her election campaign, the environment, regional development, access to housing and health.

Particularly in the field of health, Pascale Fortin believes that the CIUSSSs and CISSSSs are separate from the reality on the ground. “Relying on the private sector instead of investing in public opinion has only weakened our health system. We must stop undoing and redoing reforms that forget the needs of the people on the floor and the population being treated. We need to work with what we have and improve the things that already work,” she said, adding that the health system is an investment for the future. “I’m tired of seeing politicians view health and education as costs. That is the problem with many parties’, she says.

Moreover, the current problems, the pandemic, inflation, supplies, the war in Ukraine, she says, have shown the need to promote greater regional autonomy. “To achieve this, we need to bring production and consumption locations closer together and develop our local services. †

Nearby, Pascale reminded Fortin of the urgency to act. “It is no longer a choice. The boat is already sinking and I have the impression that many parties do not realize this. Québec Solidaire realizes this and knows that we need to meet the climate targets,” she said.

In sustainable development, the candidate advocates that the region continues to distinguish itself. “I want our region to remain innovative, to be the first to dare projects. Today we have to look beyond recycling and compost, we have to promote the many environmental projects, especially in the field of agriculture,” she noted.

Between now and the vote, the QS candidate will be active in the field meeting voters. “I want them to realize that Québec Solidaire is the party that really represents their interests. People are increasingly realizing that mainstream parties consider money and power more important than the needs of the people. We have to approach the citizens and talk to them. Me, I want to talk to people, listen to them, and I want to represent you with passion,” she said.

MEP Christine Labrie praised MEPs’ “excellent choice” for their candidate in Arthabaska, fertile ground, she believes, for Québec solidarity. Excitedly, she thinks QS and Pascale can surprise Fortin in driving. “The region here has a great environmental background. It is a place that was among the most innovative in Quebec. Things have been happening for decades. People became aware of ecological problems here earlier than elsewhere. And I, that tells me that the soil can be fertile for Québec solidarity in the region because there is a strong ecological awareness, but also a concern to access local services, something that is lost, and that is exactly what we offer in health,” she says.

The Sherbrooke member also stressed the importance of a team that goes beyond a good candidacy. “The candidate you just picked cannot win alone. She will need you. Me, I didn’t just win in Sherbrooke. I won because 400 volunteers invested their time in my campaign, participated in the activities and helped me to talk about Québec solidarity,” she confided.

“To win an election campaign, you have to have good ideas, have a good candidacy, but you also have to have the resources to run it on an equal footing with the other parties,” she said, speaking of the importance of funding.

Québec Solidaire also faces the challenge, she noted, of publicizing its ideas and proposals. “We realize that when we talk to people, they find that our proposals meet their needs. But they need to hear it. We have to go to them, tell them what we’re offering them, especially in terms of access to property, the health system, and improving our education system. People are very busy, you have to go to them. We need to get our message across to them,” says MNA Labrie. “It’s important to support your candidate, especially since we don’t hear enough about your problems in the National Assembly. It’s time to have someone who will carry this voice,” she argued, saying she felt there was an increasing openness to QS proposals. “People are aware that major shifts are needed in various aspects, especially in the areas of health, environment and education. And they are ready for these changes. †

Québec Solidaire currently has about 100 members. “It will certainly increase. I feel enthusiasm, people are motivated. We are feverish and excited. I think it will be a great campaign”, concludes candidate Pascale Fortin.

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