Martine Ouellet joins PQ leadership race


MONTREAL – Former Parti Quebecois cabinet minister Martine Ouellet announced Friday she is adding her name to the list of candidates seeking the party’s permanent leadership.

Ouellet said she is running to take the province’s independence movement “from words into actions.”

“The time for waiting is over,” she told supporters in Montreal.

“It’s been 20 years that we’ve been waiting, and at this pace if we don’t give a serious push to the independence movement we will wait a long time as spectators of our future.”

She joins Alexandre Cloutier, Veronique Hivon and Jean-Francois Lisee in the race to succeed Pierre Karl Peladeau at the party’s helm.

Unlike her rivals, Ouellet clearly stated she would hold a referendum in her first term as premier.

She said sovereignty is necessary to end what she called the provincial Liberals’ “pillage” of the province and to change the balance of power with Ottawa.

She said the province’s will is being “crushed” by federal decision-makers on important matters such as the Energy East pipeline.

“Quebec says no, but Canada wants to impose it on us,” she said. “No, Quebec is not for sale.”

Ouellet, 47, finished third in the last leadership race in 2015 behind Peladeau and Cloutier.

Peladeau resigned earlier this month, citing family reasons.

The PQ is scheduled to choose its new permanent leader between mid-September and mid-October, while the next Quebec election is set for the fall of 2018.

Sylvain Gaudreault is serving as interim leader.


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