08/25/2011 05:31 EDT | Updated 10/25/2011 05:12 EDT

Bernard Drainville, PQ Member, Says Drastic Reforms Needed To Save Party

QUEBEC - A prominent member of the Parti Quebecois says it is staring into the political abyss.

Bernard Drainville believes the party urgently needs to review its strategy on sovereignty in the wake of internal bickering and the loss of five members of the legislature this summer.

The former broadcaster says a PQ government should hold a referendum if 850,000 Quebecers — or about 15 per cent of the population — sign a petition calling for one.

PQ Leader Pauline Marois has already rejected the idea, insisting a referendum should only be held at an opportune time.

Sovereigntists have already lost two referendums — in 1980 and 1995.

Drainville says the PQ has to consider strategies that may previously have been deemed unacceptable.

The PQ has seen a significant decline in support in recent opinion polls.

It currently sits behind Premier Jean Charest's Liberals and a right-leaning coalition led by former PQ cabinet minister Francois Legault which isn't even an official political party yet.