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Speech - Pierre-Karl PÉLADEAU - Nov 30 2014 on Québec independance and wealth

Complete speech from Pierre-Karl Péladeau, on Québec's independance, solidarity and wealth.
November 30th 2014
Translation from French.
Video here
(Note: all the provinces of Canada are ALREADY States, only not sovereign, yet.)

My dear friends (compliments),

It is a great day for me.
It is an immense pleasure of seeing you today, in this county where we initially met.
Eight months ago, I crossed a big step in my life: I left the business world to make the jump in politics.
On March 9, I was presented in the form of a candidate for the Parti Québécois in the county of Saint-Jérôme. I was elected and I represent it proudly.

Today, it is such an important jump.
You know, it is not any more a secret, but I announce to you officially today that I will be candidate with the direction of the Parti Québécois.
You have noticed : I did not precipitate in this race.
Lately, it was often asked whether I would present myself. And each time, I answered that I was in reflexion, in all sincerity.
If I lengthily reflected, it is that I wanted to take all the measurement of this role.

I wanted to meet everyone in Quebec. I moreover made it during about ten meetings with the activists, from Charlesbourg to Terrebonne, from St-Jean Chrysostome to Trois-Rivières and naturally in Saint Jérôme.
You know it, I spent the major part of my existence to create wealth, jobs, and also to pursue the work of my father who wanted to demonstrate that the Quebeckers could and had to succeed also in the business world as many other Quebeckers did in other fields of activity.

It taught me a thing: it is absolutely fundamental that people control their own economy.
Mastering economy means to be a master in one's own house, it is to be in control of the fate, not to be subjected to a will which is not firstly dedicated to our fellow citizens.

To be a master in one's own house is the great lesson which we must never forget from the Quiet Revolution, the prelude to the emergence of the Quebeckers in the economic world.
I worked, you know it, in a company which plays a major role in the culture from Quebec.

A culture which I love from the bottom of the heart, which is the expression of the deep personality of our Québec.
A culture which gives us reasons to live and in which Julie and I are educating our children proudly.
A culture which has to live, which has to prosper, which has to shine.

My company, I received it in inheritance of my father, and I made it grow. I didn’t start from nothing but from what a great builder of our modern Québec left me. I consider that he would be very proud of my choice.
He was a great Quebecker. He wanted to give evidence that the Quebeckers were capable of great realizations, that they had NOT been born for a small bread roll (nés pour un petit pain), to use a popular expression that we heard many times.

I worked to make even more prosper what I had received. And I am not the only one to have done the same.
Every generation should say to itself : when you so much received, you must know how to give back more.
We owe enormously to those who preceded us.
We shall have to give back even more to our children. And that's why we have to believe in the politics to build together an even better future.
If I jump into politic, it is because I want to return to Quebec what it gave me.

I believe in the politic. One do not jump into it thoughtlessly. We commit to it because we believe that it is the noblest way of serving our country, Québec.

And if I committed by joining the Parti Québécois, of which I’m a proud member, it is because it is still the one which the best served the Quebeckers and the one who will continue to serve them better.

The chief of the PQ is not like any other chief. The Quebeckers are more demanding to him than to the other political leaders. It is normal. The leader of the PQ is the one who wishes to  achieve what is the more justifiable in the life of people : to make a country of its nation.
The leader of the Parti Québécois has to gather everyone. He has to gather the sovereignists. More still, he has to gather every Quebecker, beyond the labels which divide them.

Because the Quebeckers have much more in common that we believe it.
We share a language, a culture, institutions, territory, values!
We have the same desire of to follow together their history. We crossed tests, we shall cross more.
But we always decided to do things together by knowing that together, we can build a Québec always more beautiful, always richer, always more just.
The task of the next leader of the Parti Québécois is not a small matter.
He will have to reconquer at first those who doubt now benefactions to be the masters in our home.

Our party is a strong and fragile institution at the same time.
It is strong, because it overcomed trials in the course of history. It survived all the forecasts which announced its disappearance.
You should not wonder. The Parti Québécois is the vehicle of a perennially fashionable goal, that of the freedom of our nation.

But our party is fragile. The defeat is never pleasant and the one of last April 7th was it even less. It shook us. It also shook me.
Some are tempted to give up. They should not.
Because defeat can however give the opportunity to change what did not go, to give itself a new direction.
They try to persuade us that sovereignty is not fashionable anymore.
This idea slowly settled down.
It is false. It is terribly false!

In numerous peoples, it blooms and it can bloom in Quebec, but we have to give evidence of it by going to meet the Quebeckers.

Quebec is presently in a major crisis.
Never the government of Québec (Parti Libéra) has been so distant from interests of the Quebeckers.
They are acting as gravediggers of a multitude of institutions, the latest being the CPE, which made Quebec a distinct society characterized particularly by a spirit of solidarity inherited from our ancestors who did not have it easy.
Philippe Couillard is working very hard to obtain the title of worse Prime Minister of our history. And we fear that he will succeed at that in the short term.

He looks at our People scornfully, persuaded to understand everything that escapes him. He thinks and acts as somebody who wants to be right against everybody.

In four years, it will be necessary to us to build a big coalition in Québec to undertake the reconstruction of the country. It is what I shall try hard to carry out.
This coalition, it is necessary to begin to build it now. It is necessary to us to build the credible alternative to the Couillard government, an alternativewhich will inspire our people the taste of the overtaking which makes the big things possible.

The choice will be clear: either a party which contents itself with a reduced space for Québec and another which believes that the Quebeckers are capable of taking in hand their fates.
Either a party who thinks that the solidarity is too expensive, that the culture is too expensive, that our identity is too expensive, and another who believes that the solidarity makes us strong, that the culture makes us proud and that our identity is our most precious inheritance.

It’s been my conviction when I evolved in the business world. It was strengthened in politics: we make nothing sustainable without a clear vision.
This means that this coalition will move forward under a banner that it will never hide: the necessity to make a country of Québec.

I remember my younger years: sovereignty had something romantic to it.
Sovereignty is obviously a question of heart. To be at home in our real country as are doing all the peoples who had the courage to assert itself.
Sovereignty is also a question of culture, to live in our own language and never again see the Canadian State undermining our efforts to allow our prosperity without limits (rayonnement).
However, it is known, our cause has seen better days.

Should we believe the prophets of doom, on April 7th the Quebeckers were massively converted to federalism.
This is not the way I understood their message.

For many, sovereignty became very distant and abstract. The upholders of the federalism reduced it to the holding of a referendum which is dividing families. I would rather say that they lost sight of it.
As if they did not see how independance could be of use and what it could bring us.
They told us: «Do your homework, you want sovereignty? Explain to us why.»
I agree. How not to?
In this big (élan du cœur) about which I spoke has to be added meticulous and concrete demonstration of the advantages of the country.

We shall give evidence that from a Québec-province to a Québec-country, the Quebeckers will be winning and that we shall continue to succeed, freed from the obstacles that the Canadian State will have put on our path to slow down our legitimate quest for freedom.

This country will belong to us, we can make it prosper even more, for us, for our children, so that we are proud of job creation and of the wealth which we shall continue to create to the advantage of all.

We shall not have to beg (our own money) any more to the Canadian government, the supposed charity of this fake thing, equalization, which is lent to us only to put us to sleep and subject us in this disastrous conception that we are not worth being free.

To speak about the country, we will have to get off the beaten track. For example, we speak a lot of environment since a few years. It is the big revolution of the mentalities: we discovered that the planet is fragile, that we have to take care of it.
We understood that we could not develop by plundering. The concern of the environment is the one of the world in which we shall live.
The question of the environment is more concrete than some people want to persuade us.
Between Québec and Canada, a major disagreement furthermore : while Quebec operates a successful transition towards a greener economy, Canada contents itself with becoming an oil State.

We see it presently with the debate on the oil pipeline. Philippe Couillard seems to believe that Québec has to agree to the oil pipeline silently by way of thanks for the equalization!
I oppose this water carrier's mentality, those who are proud of it and are incapable to assert themselves.

It is not a question of opposing the development. But the real development is sustainable and intelligent. Québec has a privilege moreover.
Its economic interests cross its ecological interests. We have to sacrifice neither one or the other.

Because great citizens left us remarkable realizations, as Hydro-Québec, this national wealth which produces hydro-electric, green and sustainable power, we can and we have to invest ourselves in the global ecology and offer to our youth the opportunities to create a beneficial wealth for all the humanity battling against the plague of pollution.
More prosaically, we also see with the Champlain bridge : how are we to tolerate that the federal government decides for Québec in a question so vital as that of the transport?

My experience as business manager makes me realize that we need an overall view of our situation in the Canadian federation. This is how we shall understand to what extent this situation is limiting us in our potential of enrichment.
The interests of Québec come on several facets : energy policy, economic policy, the question of transport, the welcoming of immigrants, it is always necessary to highlight the interest from Québec.

And so the Quebeckers will discover the immense and concrete advantages to make a country of Québec.
Our most beautiful asset for the future is our youth. They are fully living the globalization, they feel completely Quebecois, they feel no contradiction there.

Our youth do not doubt their identity, and nevertheless, they do not see how the sovereignty could be of use to them.
In the last elections, they did not enough join the Parti Québécois.

The immense opportunity which opens to us is to interest them in the challenges of our nation. We have to convince them to see the sovereignty not as a fold on some Québec fortress, but as the most beautiful way of conquering the world.
I see thousands of Quebeckers succeeding on every continent, and preserving a living link with their country. Just like those who, coming from the outside, recognize the open-mindedness and the legendary generosity of the Quebeckers.

This is also how we shall convince our fellow citizens stemming from immigration to join our cause.

One thing is for sure: Quebec is rich enough to become a country. It would be even more if it was independent.

I believe that it is possible to make of Québec a French, prosperous country, and just where each would have the opportunity to succeed. A country which will succeed collectively and which will make possible of the millions of individual success.

I believe in a prosperous company, you know it. And I believe that the prosperity is the best guarantor for the solidarity.
The one that we owe to those who were not favored by their birth, we never have to abandon them.

This is the solidarity that we also owe to the young families who feel the exhausting constraints of today’s life and who need help, to know that the State is present to allow them to succeed.

Solidarity is not a slogan. It is concrete, felt and lived.
It is rooted in the heart of our history. It was at first a question of survival.
It is this solidarity in our villages and our parishes, in our cities and districts, that shaped this sensibility also constituting one of the foundations of our being and our culture.
A small French-speaking nation in America could not make otherwise.

We have always helped each other, we had no choice. It does not mean, however, that we do not believe in the individual success, in the individual effort. Maybe also we should celebrate it even more so that we can be even more proud of it collectively.

With the Quiet Revolution, we began to assert ourselves. We asked the State to play its role and to weave a social net to assure us that nobody is rejected. The State has to be the guard of our solidarity. Because the State is not the private enterprise.

Obviously, it is necessary to modernize the State. It is necessary to manage it with rigor. To manage in a rigorous way our finances is a way of holding out the hand to those who will follow us.

But it is not with the unidimensional vision of the Liberal party, that to cut only in the spendings in the craziest improvisation that we shall take the path of the future. Creation of wealth and investment in our (chantiers d’avenir) are a part of their reflection nor their hope (the liberal Party).

Especially, a rigorous management is not a management without ambition.
For example, my recent passage to Hydro-Québec convinced me of a thing: big projects susceptible to conjugate economy and environment are possible.
I think here of the electrification of transport, which is not a utopia, but a real social project.

It will also be necessary to identify the sectors, as that of aluminum, which are the most susceptible to allow the development of the economy from Quebec in the context of the globalization.

I could enumerate heaps of examples to illustrate this role of the State which we have to rehabilitate.
That's why I repeatedly raised the question of an industrial policy for Québec. It is insane that there is none worthy of the name at the moment.

But hear me out: to say that the State can play a role does not consist in denying the individuals’.
We must take up with the spirit of initiative in Quebec. It is known, the Quebeckers, in North America, are late regarding new business start-up.

We have to restore confidence and take inspiration in the successes of our great Quebeckers as my own father and many others like Jean Coutu, Alain Bouchard, Serge Godin who are many mentors to success for all of us.

Québec will be prosperous and it will be just.

And what will make possible our excellence in the world to come is still education. Education extirpated us of the ignorance, the unfortunate common trait of all peoples who underwent the torments of the colonization.
The Quebeckers did not value enough education, because our history tended to convince us that it was preferable to stay in the state of dependence to elites.

We are still carrying this weight, as shown by an alarming rate of illiteracy as well as a level of unacceptable early school drop-outs. It is inconceivable in a modern and developed society. We have to continue this fight and make a national priority.
The Quebeckers, with the Quiet Revolution, invested considerably in education. We had to democratize its accessibility.
It was the best way to insur a social advancement and to get out of our economic inferiority. We met this challenge splendidly.

Today, the Quebeckers are called to realize a similar effort. In our time, it is the best trained peoples who will have most success. The school has to equip our young people for a new world while giving them a solid anchoring in their society.
The school has to form citizens. It has to transmit a culture and it must make it proudly. It is an essential mission which it completely has to assume. Here is the real humanism.

Now, allow me to speak about a question which particularly means a lot to me. Our world is changing. But one thing that does not change, however, is our attachment in our culture. It is our will to see it shine.

The cultural diversity is a big cause today. The globalization should not grow to the disappearance of the cultures.
Our culture, the one who allowed us to survive, it is the cement which unites us.
It would be disastrous that the culture from Quebec becomes only a culture of translation, and that it should become incapable of realizing its original productions, which allow people from here to find themselves in works which touch their reality.

From Nelligan to Gaston Miron, from Félix Leclerc to Gilles Vigneault, from Ariane Moffat to Louis Jean Cormier, from Marie Laberge to Dany Lafferrière, the Québec genius has exploded and still explodes from everywhere.

I had the opportunity, in my career, to work in the construction and in the distribution of the Québec culture. I am profoundly proud of it. I believe that we have to support our creators more than ever.

Then here is what I believe, dear friends. I believe in Québec, I have faith in it, I have faith in our People.

With half-powers, with half-means, we survived, then we realized great things.
We managed to protect our language and our culture, then we gave them the opportunity to bloom.

Imagine what we would achieve if we had all the means!
Imagine if these efforts were invested in the development of our resources, in the creation of wealth, in the search for a green and more just society.
Imagine if we assumed ourselves, simply, and we put our energies to build a better society.

My friends, I present myself for the direction of the Parti Québécois because I believe, sincerely, that with you, it will be possible to us to make a decisive step in the great quest which drives us.

Our people are capable of great achievements. It is capable of giving itself a French, prosperous, just country that will give a chance to each and everyone.

It is not one man who will make a country of Québec. It is not a party either. It is the People of Québec who will say yes to itself, yes to itself. My role, our role, is to bring it to restore self-confidence, to make a success of a country.

Thank you!

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