Newspaper article The Canadian Press

New Parti Quebecois Policy Would Allow Citizen-Led Referendums on Sovereignty: PQ Would Allow Citizen-Led Referendums

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

New Parti Quebecois Policy Would Allow Citizen-Led Referendums on Sovereignty: PQ Would Allow Citizen-Led Referendums

Article excerpt

MONTREAL - Future votes on Quebec's independence could be triggered by popular demand, if the Parti Quebecois is elected to government.

The provincial opposition party adopted a policy Sunday to introduce citizen-led referendums in Quebec, similar to the kind of plebiscites common in many U.S. states.

The proposal was led by a prominent MNA who argued that if 15 per cent of Quebecers signed a petition to hold a referendum on any topic, including sovereignty, there could be one.

The new policy is part of an effort to win back sovereigntists who question whether PQ Leader Pauline Marois is committed to holding another referendum.

The move shifts the pressure from the party leadership to the general public.

The PQ has faced pressure, since the last referendum in 1995, from its hardline wing eager for another shot.

But the party's leaders have been reluctant to commit to a rematch, with opinion polls suggesting the majority of the public is wary of another battle.

It's not clear, however, how exactly a citizen-led referendum would work _ or whether 15 per cent of the population would be all that's required to force one.

Speaking with reporters after the convention, Marois wouldn't commit to specifics.

"This issue isn't resolved and we'll need to debate it in the National Assembly," she said.

The policy was one of a series of measures approved by the party's delegates at a three-day convention devoted to "changing politics" that wrapped up Sunday in Montreal. …

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