03/11/2014 09:22 EDT | Updated 05/11/2014 05:59 EDT

Pierre-Karl Péladeau's Candidacy Stirs Up PQ Membership

Some of Quebec’s labour unions are warning that some of their members, who have supported the PartiQuébécois for years, may not vote for the party this time now that media magnate Pierre-Karl Péladeau is running. 

“Many of them told me that they're going to give their vote to Québec Solidaire because they are afraid that it's a kind of turning point at the Parti Québécois with this announcement,” said Pierre Roger of the FNC-SNC Labour Movement.

Until he announced his political ambitions, Péladeau was the vice-president of Québecor Inc., as well as the president of Groupe TVA and Québecor Média — which owns several media properties including Sun Media, the TVA television network, wireless and cable provider Vidéotron and the French-language newspaper Journal deMontréal,.

Some political experts say many union members remember the 2009 lockout at the Journal de Montréal ​— which lasted two years — very clearly.

“I think it's a gamble, yeah, and that's why I say there's more than we thought about the fact that [PQ leader Pauline Marois] wants to have referendum. She is brilliant enough to know that it's going to be difficult if the glue of independence is not in place in the coming months or years,” said Alec Castonguay, Political Chief of Staff at L’Actualité magazine.

PQ politicians pleased

Former and current PQ politicians say the candidacy of Pierre-Karl Péladeau is good news for sovereignty.

“Mr. Péladeau's coming is a strong signal that even within the business community there are very strong voices that believe it would be a good thing, and a good deal, if we were sovereign,” said PQ Rosemont candidate Jean-François Lisée — even though years ago, Lisée asked Péladeau some tough questions in his blog about how he treated his employees during a Journal de Montréal lockout.

“We had a public debate that was very interesting, then we had private conversations...and there are issues on which we disagree,” Lisée said today during the PQ’s launch in Montreal.

Former Quebec Premier Bernard Landry was a columnist at the Journal de Montréal, but he stopped writing for the paper during the lockout.

Today Landry says Péladeau has a lot to offer to the party.

“It's a great event — not only news, but event — for the Quebec democracy, the Quebec future, the Parti Québécois … Quebec as a whole.”

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