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Third referendum: PQ leader's speech is full of 'catastrophism,' says QS

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Despite sharing the Parti Québécois (PQ)'s desire to make Quebec a country, Québec Solidaire (QS) parliamentary leader Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois has roundly criticized PQ leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon's speech, calling it "conservative."

On the weekend, St-Pierre Plamondon said that the federal government was "posing an existential threat" to Quebecers.

According to Nadeau-Dubois, the PQ leader's remarks were tinged with "sentiment," "fear" and "disaster."

"I even think that a speech like that could drive many young people away from the independence project," he said at a press briefing at the National Assembly on Tuesday.

Interim Liberal leader Marc Tanguay was equally outspoken in his attack on his PQ opponent, saying his speech was "clearly exaggerated," "out of touch" and "radical."

"It's clear that Paul St-Pierre Plamondon (...) wants to capitalize on fear: fear that the French fact will die if Quebec doesn't separate; fear that today we are threatened more than ever by the federal government," he said.

Over the weekend, at his party's national council in Drummondville, the PQ leader was fiercely critical of the federal government, accusing it of wanting to "crush those who refuse to assimilate."

He also hinted that the next referendum he promises to hold in a first PQ mandate could very well be the last opportunity.

The PQ leader denied that he was trying to scare voters.

"I'm describing very verifiable facts. You have to distinguish between fear and facts," he maintained. "I want to rise above partisanship."

LISTEN ON CJAD 800 RADIO: PQ leader accuses Canada of 'disrespecting the competencies of provinces'

Asked whether his speech was too stark a portrayal of Quebec's situation, St-Pierre Plamondon said, "There's certainly a negative part in what I said, but the negative part comes from the federal government's decisions, which I'm only describing."

Less vehement than QS and the Liberals, Justice Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette was keen to stress that his party, the CAQ, was making gains for Quebec, while the PQ was simply waiting for the big night of the referendum.

"We're not resigned like Mr. St-Pierre Plamondon and we're taking concrete action so that Quebec can make gains," he said.

 - This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on April 16, 2024.

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