Paul St-Pierre Plamondon wants the Parti Québécois to return to its René Lévesque roots

Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, a longshot in the leadership race, has tried to stress the "founding values" of the Parti Québécois during the campaign.

'The PQ needs to reconnect with youth,' says Montreal lawyer vying for party's top job

Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, a Montreal lawyer and author of Les orphelins politiques, is the fourth candidate in the PQ leadership race. (Radio-Canada)

Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, a longshot in the leadership race, has tried to stress the "founding values" of the Parti Québécois during the campaign.

The 39-year-old Montreal lawyer, educated at McGill and Oxford universities, is best known for his 2014 book Les orphelins politiques, in which he made the case that young Quebecers don't see their values reflected in the current political landscape.

He spoke with CBC Montreal Daybreak host Mike Finnerty on Wednesday.

Two other candidates, Jean-François Lisée and Alexandre Cloutier, have already been interviewed.

Martine Ouellet is set to speak with Finnerty on Thursday.

Here's an edited transcript of his conversation with Plamondon.

What's the role of the PQ?

I think the founding values of the PQ are very relevant today. This heritage of René Lévesque driving out corruption and coming up with long-term projects to improve our society is very relevant. 

But I think the PQ needs to reconnect with youth. The party needs to  be more democratic, more open to diversity.

How do you explain the popularity of Justin Trudeau in Quebec? 

To look at politics only based on the popularity of one politician, it's short-term thinking.

I think structural problems are important, such as what's going to happen to the petroleum from Alberta coming through our territory, presenting risks to the health of people.

There are many issues that are more important than the current popularity of one politician.

Why are you in favour of banning the burka?

We need to prevent racism and discrimination, but there's also a notion of common citizenship. 

As we see in Europe, certain parts of cities are not living with others and police can't do their job because they can't identify people.

Wearing a burka is not a religious right. It's not a religious obligation either. 

Are you worried your position is distracting from more important issues?

In the list of things to do in Quebec right now, it's not the most important topic.

I have a position on that topic because it's like any topic, we need to have a position on what is the best solution for society.

We need to be able to debate those issues, otherwise there's no freedom of expression.

Will you run for a National Assembly seat even if you don't win the leadership?