Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois on his election victory, squabbles with the PQ and winning over Liberal voters

The former student leader and Québec Solidaire co-spokesperson spoke to CBC Montreal Daybreak host Mike Finnerty after winning the Gouin byelection in a landslide.

Québec Solidaire co-spokesperson wins Gouin byelection with 69% of vote

Québec Solidaire candidate Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois reacts after winning the provincial byelection in Gouin. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, who turns 27 tomorrow, is the newest member of the National Assembly.

The former student leader and co-spokesperson for Québec Solidaire won Monday's byelection in the Montreal riding of Gouin in a landslide, with 69 per cent of the vote. 

On Tuesday, he spoke to CBC Montreal Daybreak host Mike Finnerty about his electoral win and how he plans to grow his party, which now holds three seats at the National Assembly.

The interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Are you discouraged by the low turnout?

For me, the only turnout that would have been satisfactory would have been 100 per cent. (It was 33 per cent). Of course, it's sad to see a lot of people don't go out and vote, but when you compare the level of participation to the last byelections, it's a totally normal level of turnout. What is fascinating in those results is the crumbling of the Liberal vote in Gouin, which was reduced by more than half. That's the surprise for me today.

Where did that Liberal vote go?

I think a lot of people in Gouin and all around in Quebec are beginning to get tired of the Liberal Party, even parts of the population that historically supported that party. I think they decided to stay home yesterday.

The PQ didn't field a candidate in Gouin. Why?

The decision to present no one in Gouin was the decision of the Parti Québécois. And we respect that decision. But you know, Gouin has been a progressive riding for 40 years now, so there was no possibility of the Liberals winning the riding, so it was a curious decision to present no one. Historically, roughly 25 per cent of voters go with the PQ, so not having a candidate was upsetting to many PQ voters.

How did you win?

We did our campaign just like we do every other campaign in Québec Solidaire, which means hard work on the ground. We were in the streets every single day of the campaign.

Will you help the Liberals by taking votes away from the PQ?

The problem with that argument is that it considers that the people who vote for the Liberal Party of Quebec are stupid people who don't reflect before voting, and that they will, for eternity, vote for the Liberals. I don't believe that. I think that the people who vote for the Liberals have reasons to do so, and we can convince them otherwise.

What are you going to do differently?

The first thing is: we are clear and frank about our social project. For example, we are the only party in Quebec that has the political courage to challenge the consensus around neo-Liberal free trade. We think there needs to be a real public debate but for the last 30 years the political class in Quebec has been unanimous, saying free trade is a magic solution to everything. We are the only party to say, wait a minute. That's one example showing that we are different than the other parties.

What's your take on construction workers being legislated back to work?

Unfortunately it's not surprising coming from the Liberal Party of Quebec. I want to express my solidarity with the construction workers of Quebec. I want to say that I'm with them and all of the members of Québec Solidaire are with them.

Watch the interview here