Source: Unsplash

Quebec’s separatist party is calling for a third independence referendum.

Parti Québécois Leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon told his supporters that should his party win the next provincial election, it would call for another referendum on Quebec’s future in confederation.

St-Pierre Plamondon made the pledge at the PQ’s national council meeting where he presented a mock-up of what a national budget could look like for an independent Quebec government. 

“One thing is certain. Our moment will arrive sooner than we think, meaning not at some long-term idealized date, but in a few years — before the end of the decade,” said St-Pierre Plamondon. “We will indeed experience a third referendum.”

The PQ leader claimed his mock budget would save Quebec taxpayers several billions of dollars through the elimination of duplicate public agencies.

However, the PQ’s hypothetical budget did not include spending for the development of Quebec’s own national military, nor did it consider Quebec shifting to its own national currency.

St-Pierre Plamondon painted a grim picture for Quebec’s language and culture if the province is to stay in Canada in the coming future.

“Canada has a dark future in store for us. It’s a regime that only wants to crush those who refuse to assimilate.”

St-Pierre Plamondon said that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seeking to “crush” Quebec, pointing to Trudeau’s top-down housing policies and the refusal of federal MPs to abandon pledging an oath to the King upon being sworn-in.

“Our real adversary is the federal political regime that denies us and from now on is overtly and explicitly planning our decline,” said St-Pierre Plamondon.

“Canada has gone from indifference toward Quebec to a concerted effort to weaken us, to even erase us from all points of view.”

Under previous PQ governments, Quebec has held two referenda on separating from Canada. The 1980 referendum was shot down handedly with around 60% of Quebecers voting against it, though the province came significantly closer in the 1995 referendum, coming within one percentage point.

Since then, Quebecers had largely abandoned hopes of becoming its own country, though popularity for the idea has been picking up steam in recent years.

According to a Léger poll, 36% of Quebec residents support their province separating from Canada while 53% said they were opposed.

The PQ leader’s pledge to hold a referendum on Quebec independence was met with pushback from party rivals.

Conservative Party of Quebec leader Eric Duhaime slammed St-Pierre Plamondon for promoting a radical platform that Quebecers have long since abandoned in the 20th century.

“It’s certainly the most radical political position by the PQ we’ve seen in our lifetime insofar as they will absolutely hold a referendum in their first mandate,” said Duhaime.

“It’s difficult to understand, if only because support for sovereignty was higher when they held the two losing referendums.”

The Quebec Liberal Party’s interim leader Marc Tanguay also criticized the PQ leader for his supposed radicalism and accused St-Pierre Plamondon of stoking fear. 

The Coalition Avenir Quebec had won the previous provincial election handedly with 41% of the vote count and 72% of the seats in the legislature, while the PQ had only won 14.6% of the vote and three seats.

However, recent polling has shown a collapse in support for the CAQ, leading the way for a resurgence of the PQ who now polls around 33% with a projected majority government.