To view my press conference in full
I thank you all for coming. There is no easy way to say what I am about to say now: I am announcing that I am today leaving my position as Leader of the Official Opposition and Member for Marie-Victorin to raise a new challenge. This is not a decision I made on a whim. I thought it over.
The departure of Pierre Karl, I will not hide from you, gave me a blow. We formed a tandem, a team. I understood our direction, I understood the role I had to play and I completely adhered to Pierre Karl’s vision. His departure was a bit my start signal. It is time to move on.
I think I was a good soldier, a good member of Parliament, a worst minister and a good leader of the Official Opposition. The idea of public service has always been at the heart of my commitment. I always said that journalism was my public service. And that politics was the continuation of my public service, but otherwise.
I think the time has come to return to my former loves: the world of communications. I would like to confirm that I have enthusiastically accepted to join the 93.3 FM team as co-host of the noon show. I shall have a great liberty; I shall be able to express myself on all subjects without fear of putting my party in a state of confusion.
I think I will enjoy sharing my ideas, talking to listeners, sharing my experience as a politician, showing the undertones of some decisions, explaining behind-the-scenes games and popularizing politics. I think I can be helpful in that role. That Cogeco offers me a forum like this is a chance that I can not miss. It was not something I had planned. In any case, in the short term. There is an alignment of planets and I come to the conclusion that this is where I can be most useful for the rest of things. Frankly, I am very excited about this new challenge.
You know me now. After almost 10 years of political life, you know who I am. One can not be constantly in the limelight without remaining true. It is not long that the world sees through you if you are not true. For me, life is a struggle, but political life is even more so. I used to put on my belt, which made a metallic clang, and I felt that I was putting on my armor before going down into the trenches with my sword to fight the liberal hordes. I admit that there is a chivalrous and idealistic side in it but I assume myself completely. I assume my fighting side, pugnacious, a little extreme sport. I like it when it’s brewing, because that’s how ideas are put forward. But I am not sure that this type of policy is in the air. And it’s okay.
In the end, as much as blowing in the Cacanne and having blows of mouth, as well have them on the radio. That is what I am saying.
What most distresses me is leaving the people of Longueuil.
Being a member of Parliament for Marie-Victorin for almost ten years has been a truly incredible experience. Magic. I really like my world in Longueuil. They will never know how grateful I am to them. What we have accomplished together, what I have seen of commitment, generosity, devotion in this county, it says beautiful things about Quebec and Quebeckers. One is of the world that stands. That exists, solidarity. I have witnessed it every day in Longueuil, in Marie-Vic.
And I want to say to the people of Longueuil: I love you and I thank you for the confidence you have shown me over the last ten years, including four elections. I was really attached to you and you will miss me. But I have to go. I have to redefine my commitment to public service. I have given a lot, then I can still give a lot but for the future, it will be elsewhere than in politics.
Politics is hard. Especially the way I practice it. I can be blamed for many things, but I have not been a tourist in politics. I fought there.
And I’m proud of the fights I’ve waged.
Democratic reforms: the reform of the financing of political parties that put an end once and for all to the power of money and the influence of the major fundraisers.
One hundred dollars maximum is democratic !, and a state funding based on electoral results, proportional funding. It just remains to give itself the voting method that goes with it.
Fixed date elections that will be tested for the first time in 2018.
Voting on campuses for our youth.
The end of the applause to put a little order to the question period. I did it with all the other members of the National Assembly.
And even if it was the Liberals who finally voted for it, the end of the starting bonuses for the members who have resigned. I am pleased to confirm that I am not entitled to a severance grant and that is fine, because, as I have already stated a thousand times, a resigning member should not be rewarded.
I fought hard to get rid of the damned bonuses for departing MPs. The Liberals blocked my bill but they ended up voting it once in power. So we must never lose hope.
I am proud to have contributed to improving our democracy. It was a great team effort. The $ 100 was also Nicolas Girard, Nicolas Marceau and the PQ team Marie-Victorin.
And there was the Charter as well. That was something, the charter. It was the occasion for a great debate of ideas in Quebec, the charter. Secularism for me is a democratic principle.
No matter who you are, no matter what your beliefs, origins, regardless of whether you are a woman or a man, no matter what your sexual orientation, no matter where you come from, you are entitled to your beliefs and the state must Protect your right to have your beliefs or your non-beliefs.
That’s why I said that secularism is the guardian of diversity. Diversity of beliefs and religions. Secularism as a protector of freedom of conscience. Secularism guaranteeing equality among all citizens. Was it challenging the charter? Too demanding? I do not find. When you are serving your fellow citizens, it is your public service that must prevail, not your convictions or your personal beliefs. So yes, secularism comes from a demanding conception of public service. I will not apologize for that. I have a high conception of public service.
This diversity of beliefs that I wanted to protect with secularism corresponds exactly to my conception of the Quebec nation. All Quebeckers, all Quebecers, no matter where we come from or the color of our skin.
The diversity of Quebec today is a wealth. That is one of the great strengths of our identity. We are a nation with Quebeckers coming from all over the world. I’m tripping over it. But this identity, this diversity, it also needs a common foundation. It is our language, it is our culture, it is our history, it is our values, it is the equality man / woman. And I wanted it to be secularism too. And I note that nothing is settled and that this battle will have to continue.
And I trust that one day Quebecers will come to the conclusion that the best way to ensure the future of our identity, our nation, is independence. And that day I will be there and I will serve as I have done all my life.
If I was a good member of Parliament, a good minister and a good leader, at least to the best of my abilities, it was because I was well surrounded.
Politics is a team sport and should never be forgotten.
All this work during all the time I was in the National Assembly, I could not have done without loyal, intelligent, dynamic people of the damned good world. I had a team in my absolutely extraordinary constituency, devoted parliamentary teams and two formidable cabinets: Stéphane, Martine, Lysiane, Catherine, Diane, Amélie, Marie-Hélène and Francesca. Louise Andrée, Eric, Manu, Julie-Maude, Mathieu, Bryan, Jacques and Gilbert my deputy ministers, Raffie, Simon TD, Carl and Genevieve. Thank you. It’s thanks to you if we were good. Not to mention the exceptional gang of my leadership race with FloFLo, Gobi, Marie-Michelle, Serge, Marc and all the others … I would not change anyone. It was perfect. Thanks to my world. You are solid world and I really love you very much.
I am proud to have been a member of the Parti Québécois. It’s a great party that has done so many great things. It was my dream to be a member of the PQ, from that party that gave us René Lévesque my hero, and who gave us great leaders like Parizeau and Bouchard, and leaders I loved like Pauline Marois, Pierre Karl Péladeau and my friend Sylvain Gaudreault.
I am also proud to have been a party that counts on the most extraordinary militants. In particular those of Marie-Victorin.
I do not leave for family reasons. But on this day a little sad for me, I admit that I am happy to find my family. My Lambert, my Rosalie, my Matisse, who is not present because he is under examination. And my Martine.
I do not leave for family reasons but I stayed because of family reasons. Without the unconditional support of Martine, I would never have been able to last in politics. There was not a day when she was not there. Magnet, strong, generous. All I could do in politics was thanks to you, Martine. All.
When I was in the National Assembly, you were going to the parents’ meetings, you were having supper, homework, barouettes in soccer, hockey and everything else. Because I could not. It was your activism. It was your way of giving Quebec. Thank you Pitchoune, I really love you very much.
Today I go home and I will be able to do a little more. In particular, I am an excellent dishwasher. But I know you’d love that I cook a little more.
We’ll work on that.
Thank you all.