Elizabeth May Says Pierre Nantel Is Not A Quebec Separatist

The Green party candidate said Quebec should leave Canada “as fast as possible.”

09/11/2019 14:48 EDT | Updated 09/11/2019 23:09 EDT
HuffPost composite/Canadian Press
Green leader Elizabeth May says her candidate Pierre Nantel, left, is not a Quebec separatist.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May denies that one of her candidates wants Quebec to split from Canada, despite MP Pierre Nantel saying as much one day earlier. 

“He is not a separatist. He’s a strong Quebecer within the context of Canada,” she said Wednesday at an event to launch her federal election campaign in Victoria. 

“I’ll be talking to Pierre to make sure because we will not have a candidate who thinks they can work to break up our country,” she added. “That’s not on.”

‘Let’s separate as fast as possible’

On Tuesday, Nantel told a radio station that he thinks Quebec should leave Canada.

“Let’s separate as fast as possible,” he said. “But as long as we are here, let’s defend Quebec in the Canadian context.”

The Montreal-area MP made headlines in August when he was dumped by the NDP because he was in talks to run for the Greens in the upcoming election.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh was also asked about Nantel at his London, Ont. campaign launch Wednesday. 

A reporter asked Singh how someone who believes in “splitting Canada apart” felt “at home” in the NDP for so many years. Nantel was first elected to represent Longueuil—Saint-Hubert for the NDP in 2011. 

Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh answers questions as his wife Gurkiran Kaur Sidhu looks on at his campaign launch in London, Ont. on Sept.11, 2019.

Singh dodged the question. 

“We are a party that believes in working extremely hard to keep this beautiful country together. But at the same time, we understand that Quebec is a unique nation, that it’s a unique place,” he said.

“What we will do as a New Democratic Party is make sure that everyone in our country, all the provinces, all the territories, all the nations, the First Nations, everyone feels that in Canada they will get justice, they will get fairness, they can build a good life.”

May said that separatism is incompatible with the oath that MPs make to protect Canada when they are elected to the House of Commons.

“We will not let candidates break a sacred pledge,” May said.

“There is no risk whatsoever that a Green MP would fight for separation.”

With files from the Canadian Press