Montreal

Pierre Karl Péladeau supporters, opponents react to PQ leadership win

Pierre Karl Péladeau may be in for a short honeymoon following his Friday night win, with some of his political opponents already taking shots at the new leader of the Parti Québécois.

PKP won Parti Québécois leadership with 57.6 per cent of the vote

Parti Québécois newly elected leader Pierre Karl Péladeau speaks after the leadership vote results were announced in Quebec City Friday, May 15, 2015. (Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press)

Pierre Karl Péladeau may be in for a short honeymoon following his Friday night win, with some of his political opponents already taking shots at the new leader of the Parti Québécois.

Péladeau, who ran against fellow PQ MNAs Martine Ouellet and Alexandre Cloutier, won the leadership with 57.6 per cent of the vote. 

Premier Philippe Couillard tweeted that he had called Péladeau to congratulate him shortly after his win.

François Legault, the leader of the Opposition party Coalition Avenir Québec, also took to social media to congratulate Péladeau, tweeting "our political ideas differ, but your commitment merits respect."

The two leaders left the partisan work to their underlings who took aim again at Péladeau on a number of fronts, including his staunch pro-sovereignty views and his refusal to sell his controlling interest in media giant Quebecor. 

Out of touch with modern Quebec?

In his victory speech, Péladeau reiterated his main political goal of achieving Quebec independence, telling delegates on Friday that they have given him a "strong and clear mandate — to make Quebec a country."

Quebec's labour minister accused Péladeau of being out of touch with Quebecers.

"Mr Péladeau entered politics for only one reason: to achieve Quebec separation," said Sam Hamad. "The choice of the Péquistes is the separation of Quebec. The choice of Québécois is the economy and jobs."

Québec Solidaire spokespeople Françoise David and Andres Fontecilla described Péladeau as anti-unionist and divisive.

"His style is not unifying — he polarizes," David said in a news release.

They also said the media mogul is not the man to lead the traditionally left-leaning Parti Québécois to independence.

"One man will not achieve Quebec independence," Fontecilla said. "Especially if that man's social and economic vision don't correspond to that of the majority."

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François Bonnardel, a member of Legault's Coalition legislative caucus resurrected criticism over Péladeau's promise to put his Quebecor majority shares in a blind trust. Bonnardel said that isn't good enough.

"Péladeau will rapidly have to address his untenable position of being PQ leader and the owner of 40 per cent of Quebec's media," he said.

Meanwhile, Péladeau's predecessors at the PQ helm lined up behind the new leader.

Former premier Bernard Landry, one of Péladeau's strongest supporters, expressed hope the new PQ leader could steer the party to a referendum victory.

"Tonight, he gave us hope," he said Friday night.

Former premier Pauline Marois, who was not present at the vote, sent out a statement congratulating Péladeau and his team.

"I will always be at their sides to convince Quebec citizens to give themselves a country, our country," she wrote.

Former Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe said Péladeau had the potential to become a great leader who would attract support from the business community while current Bloc leader Mario Beaulieu said Péladeau's victory was the start of "a new independantist wave."

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