MONTREAL - Gerald Larose's Estates General on Quebec Sovereignty, which aims to help encourage the separatist movement, kicked off Saturday with a press conference in Montreal.

Former priest and union leader Gérald Larose and spokesperson Tania Kontoyanni revealed that they will be flanked by academic Michelle Bussieres, public relations professional Amelie Dionne, Yasmine Drissi, developer Renaud Lapierre, arts professor Danic Parenteau and actor Sebastien Ricard.

Citizens from all regions of Quebec will be invited to participate in discussions about the best way to promote separation. 

In a written statement the panelists offered their arguments for Quebec leaving Canada.

"Sovereignty is more necessary than ever before," wrote Michelle Bussieres. "In the last 50 years over a 100 countries have been liberated to start their own country. In this world of globalization countries feel even more need to negotiate as an equal force with other states. "

Member Renaud Lapierre argued that, "the Canadian framework is holding back Quebec's economic development. For example, Ontario was given billions in subsidies to have Canada's automobile industry, money that includes Quebec contributions. Quebec was excluded from the naval industry as BC and the Atlantic provinces were given federal contracts. Alberta has also received billions to develop its tar sands while Quebec's forest industry has hardly received any subsidies in the face of the most important crisis of its history."

Sebastien Ricard wrote that, "the deconstruction of Bill 101 by the Supreme Court slows Quebec's ability to develop its own culture and language."

Parti Quebecois leader Pauline Marois first proposed the body in August 2011 when she suggested a series of non-partisan regional town halls on the independence issue to be overseen by Larose.