International

Can Pierre-Karl Péladeau save Parti Québecois?

Parti Quebécois has a new leader, Pierre-Karl Péladeau. Former Quebecor’s CEO was elected by 58% of the votes vs. 26% for Alexandre Cloutier and 13% for Martine Ouellet.

Pierre Karl Peladeau, new PQ's leader, delivering his speech of victory, the 16th of May, Montreal

Pierre Karl Peladeau, new PQ’s leader, delivering his speech of victory, the 16th of May, Montreal

Some of Quebecois political leaders promptly reacted to PKP’s victory between hope and fear. Indeed, according to his supporters, the PQ’s leader elect is the man who can give a new direction for Quebec and lead the francophone province of Canada to independence. But according to his detractors, Pierre-Karl Péladeau is a free-marketer person, considering the State is too important and its role should be reduced to the essential. Moreover, although he claimed his will to see Quebec being independent several times in the past, the new leader did not explain what were his plans to get the independence clearly, and how was his strategy to convince the Quebecois people.

Pierre Karl Péladeau with Pauline Marois, former PM of Quebec and PQ leader during the 2014 Quebec elections

Pierre Karl Péladeau with Pauline Marois, former PM of Quebec and PQ leader during the 2014 Quebec elections

Pierre Karl Péladeau’s election to Parti Québécois leadership should be surprising apparently. In fact, only a year ago, PKP was a rookie in politics, and not reputed to be a fervent activist for independence. His candidacy as Member of the National Assembly has been seen by some political analysts, as a way for Parti Québécois leader and outgoing Prime minister, Pauline Marois, to convince business people the separatist party, social-democratic and medium classes friendly traditionnaly, had a credible plan to lead Quebec to the independence and make the province wealthier, outside Canada. PKP was an asset to help the party to get an absolute majority and give guarantee to the business area.

But since the PQ’s landslide defeat and the come-back of the Liberal Party of Quebec, PKP has been considered as a kind of God, the one who can put the separatist movement to its foots and help it to earn the trust of the Quebecois people. Most of his supporters points out his charisma, his energy and his capacity to gather traditional activists and attract a new generation of people dreaming of a free Quebec. In other words, Péladeau embodies a new hope, a new future for Québec and his leadership should give new ambitions for the sovereignty movement.

But before Quebecois separatists dream about independence, PKP should clearly explain what is his plan. During the campaign for the leadership, his main challengers reproached him to not give any agenda regarding a third referendum on the issue contrary to some applicants as Bernard Drainville who committed to organise one by 2023 if Parti Quebecois wins the 2018 provincial elections. Moreover, the PQ leader elect must convince and impose himself to the other separatist movements more or less sceptical regarding him, considering as a free-marketer and liberal person.

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The hardiest is now for Pierre Karl Péladeau, actually. He easily won the PQ’s leadership – his two serious and credible challengers, Bernard Drainville and Jean-François Lisée, withdrew their candidacy during the race – but knows he Is expected by everyone. By his supporters who need a new direction to convince Quebecois people and his detractors who consider PKP as unable to lead the province. In fact, Parti Québécois took an important risk by electing PKP as its new leader. Maybe it is the man who can give new hopes for people dreaming of a free and wealth Quebec and he may be the one who can give serious disillusions to a party who must redefine his priorities and express what it clearly wants for the future. And PQ has now three years to be out ambiguity.

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