Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois is headed to the National Assembly.
The 26-year-old former student leader made a big splash Monday night, winning the Gouin by-election by a landslide – close to 70 per cent of the vote – for Quebec solidaire.

Nadeau-Dubois retains the seat for the left-wing sovereignist party after former MNA and founder of the party Francoise David retired.

“I'm realizing that the responsibility is huge because the mandate is so clear, so strong,” said the MNA-elect. “I'm going to work as hard as I can.”

The results, said Nadeau-Dubois, send a clear message to the Liberals.

“Even people that traditionally voted for the Liberals are now turning away from the Liberals and I think that's good news,” he said.

The victory comes amid calls from the Parti Quebecois for an apology from Quebec solidaire over comments made by some members at its convention who called the PQ racist.

“Insults have political repercussions and they should either own up to these insults or clearly dissociate themselves,” said PQ Leader Jean-Francois Lisee.   

Nadeau-Dubois said his party won’t apologize.

“If I would have to ask Jean-Francois Lisee to apologize every time a PQ activist yells at me I would have to send 25 letters every day. It's not serious. Honestly not the way we want to do politics,” he said.

The former student leader, who is also the party co-spokesperson, credits his victory to hard work.

Since he was announced as a candidate, the party has signed on 6000 new members.

“I think he is a real force for carrying a positive and strong message and I believe that's exactly what the Quebec left needs,” said supporter Steven Lachance.

Nadeau-Dubois has had a tangible effect on support for Quebec solidaire – a recent Leger poll showed the party up at 14 per cent, 5 points higher than it fared in January.     

Nadeau-Dubois has increased the party's visibility, but political analyst Gilles Duceppe, once the leader of the Bloc Quebecois, said he isn’t convinced it will change anything.

“It’s a plus for Quebec Solidaire, obviously, but having said that, will it change things? It depends on what the PQ will do,” he said.

Premier Philippe Couillard, meantime, said he's welcoming another point of view to the National Assembly.

“I expect and hope that with him, we'll have open and respectful debates,” he said.