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3rd Quebec referendum: PQ leader asks Legault 'to do no harm'

Parti Quebecois leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon (Karoline Boucher/The Canadian Press) Parti Quebecois leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon (Karoline Boucher/The Canadian Press)
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In the wake of Premier François Legault's comments that losing a third referendum on independence would be "the worst thing that could happen," Parti Québécois leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon is asking him "to do no harm" and not to "contaminate everyone with unhealthy defeatism."

"At this point in our history, not holding a third referendum and not achieving Quebec independence is like losing it, because our decline is planned and already underway," said St-Pierre Plamondon at a press briefing at the national assembly on Tuesday morning.

In an interview with Radio-Canada on Monday, Legault said it would be "irresponsible" to hold another referendum on Quebec independence, arguing that the majority of Quebecers do not want it.

"The premier isn't saying that Quebec independence is a bad thing, he's just saying that holding a third referendum would be irresponsible if we lost it," said St-Pierre Plamondon.

Citing the housing crisis, the decline of the French language and the difficulty of delivering public services to the population, the PQ leader retorted that what is "irresponsible" is to "stay in Canada."

"I ask him at least to do no harm and not to infect everyone with an unhealthy defeatism that doesn't correspond to any clear vision of our future," added St-Pierre Plamondon.

An ardent supporter of independence in the past, Legault set sovereignty aside when he created the Coalition Avenir Québec in 2011. Despite this, the premier said last month that sovereignty was a "noble project."

The PQ leader believes that Legault is "very aware of the limits" of drawing a line between sovereignty and federalism.

St-Pierre Plamondon also asked the premier to stop dithering on issues such as the third link and the immigration referendum.

"It's unhealthy for the Quebec nation to constantly change its discourse in such short periods of time ... We need consistency. We need a premier who keeps his word," said the PQ leader, accusing Legault of sailing to the whim of the polls.

He urged him to finally hold his referendum calling for full powers on immigration, a subject on which the premier has blown hot and cold in recent months.

"Let him hold his referendum on immigration, and I'll be happy to work with him again," said the PQ leader. 

- This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on June 18, 2024.

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