Another referendum “will come sooner than we think,” promises the PQ leader


The path to an independent Quebec should be completed by 2030, says Paul St-Pierre Plamondon to the PQ National Council.

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DRUMMONDVILLE – Quebecers will have an “ultimate” chance to prevent their language and culture from being “erased” by voting “yes” in another independence referendum sometime before 2030, the leader of the Parti Québécois said Sunday.

If the PQ takes power in the 2026 general election, the party will quickly organize another referendum – the third in Quebec's history – said Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, because in his view the conditions are in place for Quebec to become an independent country could have never been clearer and Quebec's status in Canada has never been so bleak.

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While recent polls have shown support for independence hovering between 33 and 36 percent, St-Pierre Plamondon said he never based his vision on short-term polls.

“One thing is certain,” he said in an impassioned speech at the end of a two-day national council of the party. “Our moment will come sooner than we think – that is, not at some long-term, idealized point in time, but in a few years, before the end of the decade.

“History asks us this question. Our destiny is calling.”

In a keynote speech that set the PQ agenda for the coming months, St-Pierre Plamondon painted a bleak picture of Quebec's future in the federation.

He said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had chosen to ignore the constitution by repeatedly “blaming” Quebec for a series of incursions into its jurisdiction in everything from housing to dental care.

“Our real opponent is the federal political regime, which denies us and from now on is openly and explicitly planning our downfall,” St-Pierre Plamondon told 500 members of the PQ, who applauded him and shouted that they want a country as they Quebec waved flags.

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He said Trudeau was following the work of his late father, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, in wanting to destroy Quebec. St-Pierre Plamondon said the younger Trudeau has never been more clear about his intentions.

“He says, 'We don't care and we'll do whatever we want,'” the PQ leader said. “Canada has moved from indifference toward Quebec to a concerted effort to weaken us, even eliminate us from every angle.”

He cited federal MPs' refusal last week to make the oath to King Charles optional and their subsequent singing of “God Save the King” as evidence of MPs' ties to the British colonial tradition.

“For those who sang this anthem, Quebec is a problem that needs to be solved,” he said.

At a press conference later, St-Pierre Plamondon was asked about the sombre tone of his speech. He defended himself and said he wanted to be at the forefront with the Quebecers. Canada, he said, is moving from a decentralized federation to an overly centralized state.

“Canada is gloomy with us and promises us a bleak future,” said St-Pierre Plamondon. “What is brutal is what is being done against Quebec.”

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He noted that while Quebec accounts for 22 percent of Canada's population, that number is expected to fall to 18 percent by 2047, meaning an even smaller influence in the federation.

“We’re done,” he said.

Reaction to the speech was swift. Incumbent Liberal leader Marc Tanguay criticized St-Pierre Plamondon, saying he was “by far the most radical leader of the PQ.”

“In identifying the culprits, he is relying on fear to advance his independence option,” Tanguay said in a post on the X platform.

Stéphane Gobeil, an adviser to Premier François Legault, also weighed in, accusing St-Pierre Plamondon of arrogance when he assumed the PQ would win in 2026.

“It’s either arrogance or uncontrolled euphoria,” Gobeil said on X.

But buoyed by recent polls showing the PQ leading all other parties in Quebec, St-Pierre Plamondon exuded confidence throughout the weekend. His speech also showed that.

“The PQ is actually the main political force in Quebec,” he said.

He said that after losing referendums in 1980 and 1995, Quebecers could not risk being left behind this time. Her soul is at stake, he added.

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“Quebecians must know that our next rendezvous with history will likely be our ultimate chance to ensure the longevity of our language and culture,” said St-Pierre Plamondon.

He urged Quebecers to remember their ancestors, noting that French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal said last week that people who predicted that francophone culture would disappear in North America had underestimated the determination of Quebecers.

St-Pierre Plamondon said fear of losing another referendum or reopening old wounds has been a paralyzing force in Quebec for too long. He said Quebecers could be like Legault and bury their heads in the sand and ignore the way Quebec is treated in the federation, or they could seize the moment.

He even invoked Franklin D. Roosevelt's famous line, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” to shift the responsibility onto people.

“Our opponent is also the fear of defeat,” said St-Pierre Plamondon. “We cannot remain immobile. The status quo condemns us to decline.”

He argued that politics has changed since the 1990s and said he hopes to convince Coalition Avenir Québec, Liberal and Conservative voters to join him in the yes camp should there be a referendum.

St-Pierre Plamondon's speech capped a weekend in which the PQ began to set the stage for the 2026 elections. It adopted a comprehensive new housing policy designed to encourage construction while protecting tenants' rights.

A resolution states that if a PQ government is elected, it would fund the construction of 45,000 new housing units, including 10,000 for students, over five years.

A PQ government would commit to converting unoccupied government and historic buildings – even empty churches – into housing.

St-Pierre Plamondon also called on the Legault government to freeze the number of temporary immigrants allowed into Quebec.

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