06/20/2014 09:38 EDT | Updated 08/20/2014 05:59 EDT

Bernard Drainville wants PQ to open up to new members

Former Parti Québécois cabinet minister Bernard Drainville says his party's election loss on April 7 should be viewed as an opportunity for renewal.

“We need to put ourselves in a more positive and constructive frame of mind,” Drainville said in an interview Friday with Mike Finnerty, host of CBC Radio's Daybreak. "I don’t think it’s a good idea to dwell upon the very bad results at the last election."

Drainville — who is currently the MNA for Marie-Victorin in Longueuil — came out this week with a strong appeal to Quebec sovereigntists with a letter in Le Devoir, saying brainstorming could result in a new kind of party that is more open.

"Because of what happened on April 7, we have to question ourselves and give ourselves a fresh start," Drainville told Finnerty. "In many ways we have to start from scratch, and we are going have to test new arguments to find ways to convince our fellow Quebecers that independence is here to stay."

Drainville is urging supporters of other pro-sovereignty parties to join the PQ, as well as all Quebecers who are undecided on the national question.

"When I say all Quebecers, I talk about all Quebecers... Whatever your origin, wherever you come from, whether your first generation Quebecer or 10th generation."

Another Charter of Values? 

Drainville was the architect of Quebec's controversial secular 'values' charter, the now-failed proposal to ban public sector workers from wearing overt religious symbols while at work.

He could not say whether a similar proposal would have a place in the PQ's future, as the decision will be made by the party's membership.

"The fundamental principle on which the project was based, I will always believe in that," said Drainville.

But Drainville affirms that independence will remain the first priority for the Parti Québécois, saying it may have been a mistake to avoid the topic during the last election campaign.

“From now on we need to assume ourselves as independentists and say what we are,” said Drainville. "Too often it is perceived as an idea that is opposed to something... but I think we also need to put forward a more positive message on independence."    

Drainville confirmed he is interested in running for the leadership of the PQ, but will take some time to make up his mind.