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October 24, 2002 A party of their own



by Melanie Porco

PQ, Liberal, ADQ — which one will voters choose on April 14? The three major Quebec political parties are highly visible in the coming provincial election, but did you know there are others?

Molly Alexander is vice-president of the Union des Forces Progressistes (UFP), and a Concordia student. She said that after the April 2001 demonstrations in Quebec City, where over 80,000 people protested the G8 summit, many young people feel the government is ignoring what they are saying about free trade deals and neo-liberal policies.

“They felt that the left was not represented in the national assembly, that the voice of the left, the progressive people, people who are against neo-liberalist type policies, needed to have a voice in the government. We needed to put our differences aside and create a new party.”

Founded in June 2002 with 300 members, the Union des Forces Progressistes was a merger of the Communist Party of Quebec, the Democratic Socialist Party, and the Rassemblement pour l’Alternative Progressiste.

“Our party has a lot of young people who didn’t come from any of the previous parties and are new to political parties.”

Nine months after it was founded, the UFP has more than 1,500 members. It doesn’t have lots of money to publicize in the mainstream media, Alexander admitted, but the UFP has more than 60 candidates in nearly half of the province’s ridings.

“We concentrated a lot of our efforts in certain [constituencies] where we saw we can win some votes,” Alexander said.

Social justice, equality and the redistribution of wealth are the main components of the UFP’s platform. It supports free and universal health care as well as public education at all levels, including university.

Alexander and the UFP are trying to get Concordia students involved. “We’re trying to organize a Concordia UFP, to get people to come and talk about what it is that’s important to them.” Alexander is pursuing a double major at the School of Community and Public Affairs and in political science.

Alexander, who comes from a family of activists, hopes that the UFP party will win a seat or two, and is confident that the party will survive regardless of the results.

The UFP “represents the interests of people who are not normally in political parties: the underemployed, single moms who have very low incomes, and students.”

For more information about the UFP’s platform and the party itself, go to www.ufp.qc.ca.