Jean-Francois Lisee joins race for PQ leadership - InfoNews

Current Conditions

Mostly Cloudy

Jean-Francois Lisee joins race for PQ leadership

Parti Quebecois MNA Jean-Francois Lisee responds to reporters' questions before entering a party caucus meeting, Tuesday, May 10, 2016 at the legislature in Quebec City. Lisee has announced he is joining the Parti Quebecois leadership race.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
May 16, 2016 - 12:50 PM

MONTREAL - The newest entrant in the Parti Quebecois leadership race says he would not hold a sovereignty referendum in his first mandate as premier.

Former cabinet minister Jean-Francois Lisee announced Monday he wants to replace Pierre Karl Peladeau as permanent PQ leader, joining fellow members of the legislature Veronique Hivon and Alexandre Cloutier as candidates.

The focus quickly turned to the timing of a referendum on extricating Quebec from Canada and whether Lisee, 58, would hold one in his first term if he became premier in the 2018 election.

"I would have to say no clearly, not because we don't want independence, but because we want it to succeed," he told reporters outside PQ headquarters.

"I've been in this game for 30 years (and) there is no way that we can have a mandate in 2018, in 24 months, to organize the referendum. And we're not even ready."

Lisee acknowledged the current federal government would make it much more difficult for the PQ to take steps toward independence, as Justin Trudeau is very popular in Quebec, unlike his predecessor, Stephen Harper.

"The context has changed," said Lisee, adding Trudeau has a 67 per cent satisfaction rate in Quebec.

"The steps to climb to extract Quebec from Canada are much steeper than they were under Stephen Harper."

Lisee, a member of the legislature since 2012, said he is running to "free" the province of the Couillard Liberals and to achieve Quebec independence — in that order. He first made the announcement in a post on his blog earlier in the day.

"Nothing would be more pleasing than accomplishing these two tasks at the same time, in two years, in the 2018 election," he wrote.

"But nothing would be worse than being served another rejection by Quebecers on this occasion."

Lisee said the party's objective would be to propose a "serious, complete, credible" sovereignty proposal by 2022 to Quebecers, "with whom we will have discussed independence for the six previous years."

"We have the bad habit of talking about independence between us, independentistes," wrote Lisee.

"Our biggest challenge is to talk about it with all Quebecers in an interesting, ongoing, convincing way."

Lisee sought the PQ leadership last year before withdrawing from the race that saw Peladeau emerge the winner.

He previously served as a special adviser to Jacques Parizeau during the 1995 Quebec referendum and later with Lucien Bouchard until 1999.

Peladeau resigned two weeks ago for family reasons. Sylvain Gaudreault is currently serving as the interim leader of the PQ.

Martine Ouellet is also expected to announce her candidacy.

The next PQ leader will be elected no later than Oct. 15, with the provincial election set for the fall of 2018.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

  • Popular kamloops News
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile