How tough a battle are you in here in this riding with the Parti Québécois?
I think the Parti Québécois knows I can win next Tuesday. They don’t want that for sure. It’s normal. So, yes it’s a great battle day by day.
Help us understand the key differences between you and the Parti Québécois?
First, the way we see sovereignty of Quebec, it’s not exactly the same. We are [all] sovereigntists, but I think at Québec Solidaire, we are more inclusive. We want to put on a big discussion [with] all of the population about that — a real discussion about the future of Quebec and about the constitution.
We will open a big space of discussion and that will be for 18 months… It’s a not a problem to take our time, but we will do it in the first mandate of a Québec Solidaire government. At the end, people will have choice — anglophone, francophone, allophone, everyone will have choice.
But [what I] think is important for many anglophones, for many people who come from other countries, it’s the feeling that Quebec is for all people who live here, without differences. We are all Quebecers.
A key part of the PQ platform, the secular charter, would not permit Quebec public servants to wear ostentatious religious symbols. What is the Québec Solidaire position on the secular charter?
We disagree with the Parti Québécois and we agree to let people continue because it’s the way it’s going now. People could continue to wear religious signs. For sure, we have to see the face of the person.
That’s normal in the public service. For us, we must see the Quebec state and the institutions be secular, but it’s not the individual person who has to express that. It’s the state.
It’s the institutions themselves… It depends on who you speak with in the Québec Solidaire and the population.
To have a secular state is normal. But it should be normal for everybody. We don’t want to see a difference between citizens, between people. But you know that is a debate and I think the most important thing is to have the debate in the [whole] population.
What is your position on access for cultural communities to English-language CEGEPs?
We disagree [with the Parti Québécois] on this also. I have to be very clear: I want to live in a country of Quebec where everyone speaks French.
Where we speak French at work and in the restaurants and all stores. I want to be served in French. But it’s not necessary to have that law apply on the colleges to go in that direction. The first thing we have to do is really ensure that at work, we speak French.
If you hold the balance of power in the national assembly and the Parti Québécois moves, which it says it wants to, to the idea of popularly-initiated referendums, will you vote with the PQ for that to become a reality?
We agree with the principle of that kind of consultation, but we have to put on some rules. It’s very important.
Not only to have 800,000 signatures, but have the same possibilities, the same amount of money for the two sides. The principle for that kind of referendums, that exists in other countries. So, why not?