PSPP: the unknown separatist

PSPP: the unknown separatist

Rarely have I seen a political leader campaign at the head of a major party as little known to the public as Paul St-Pierre Plamondon. Even his name, which contains too many syllables, confuses people. Ordinary mortals ascribe neither great qualities nor bad faults to him. We don’t know him enough.

The man wins to be discovered. Lawyer, holder of an MBA from the renowned University of Oxford, has had a distinguished career. He could live much better if he put aside his passion for politics and concentrated on clocking up hours at a big law firm.

Passionate, courageous, he has a personality that is an interesting combination of deep idealism and at the same time realism in relation to what is immediately feasible.

He certainly embodies the idealistic side of the Parti Québécois and prides himself on being a proud bearer of the flame of independence so dear to this party.

We must highlight his victory in the race for the leadership of the Parti Québécois. At the start, he appeared to be launching from afar in the face of comedian Guy Nantel and MP Sylvain Gaudreault. He did the preliminary work like an ant and finished first. He has proven his qualities as a strategist, hard work and ability to win.

daunting task

That day he became leader of the PQ, a party that has seen a steady decline in public opinion for a quarter of a century. The trend seems heavy. The PQ’s 2018 share of the vote was the lowest in its history, five points below the 1970 result when the PQ was a new party experiencing its first turnout.

Paul St-Pierre Plamondon was told over and over again for two years that things were going badly and that the worst was yet to come. It’s not easy to stay in control and keep your spirits up. Faced with the daunting task of turning the tide, he did the only logical thing: return to basic beliefs.

The message of the PQ is clear and will be clear in this campaign. The PQ is a resolutely independent party that wants to defend Quebec’s identity and the French language with even greater zeal than the CAQ. Simple, precise, clean cut, take it or leave it. This shift has been made in a credible way and the chef carries that message in a coherent way, even if it’s not the fashion of the time.

Two choice realities

There is an additional complication on the path of the PQ leader. He’s trying to get elected in Montreal’s East End. However, the PQ has become a party confined to almost a thousand kilometers away on the north coast and particularly in Gaspésie. This poses a challenge, both in terms of mileage and the selection of strategic themes.

The expectations of the PQ manager are very low. He has what it takes to exceed expectations.

However, the coast will be steep.

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