10 questions with Québec Solidaire's Françoise David

Françoise David takes a break from the campaign trail to share her thoughts on integrity, referendums and winning over the anglophone vote.

'There's no place in the Parti Québécois for a real left-wing person,' David says

Québec Solidaire's Françoise David joined Daybreak host Mike Finnerty in studio for a one on one chat. (Jaela Bernstien/CBC)

Québec Solidaire co-spokesperson Françoise David took a break from the campaign trail this week to sit down with CBC's Daybreak and share her thoughts on integrity, referendums and winning over the anglophone vote. 

Mike Finnerty: What is this election about?

Françoise David: It depends. For some people I think this election is about sovereignty and federalism and that wasn't really expected. For other people, like us, this election is the moment to vote for a party that is [eco-friendly], feminist, sovereigntist​ and that wants to fight against inequality.

MF: How much can we trust either of the two main political parties in terms of their integrity?

FD: It's difficult, because what we see on the Charbonneau commission is many, many people, businessmen, who made affairs with politicians. We saw these people especially at the municipal level, but everyone knows that it's the same with some politicians at the provincial level. And we suspect that the Liberal party, who had power during nine years, was involved in problems of corruption and collusion.

MF: Do you trust the Liberal party on issues of corruption?

FD: Not really. I know that a party can change, but I will need [a lot of] proof, [a lot of] evidence of real change.

MF: Do you trust the PQ?

FD: I don't trust the PQ 100 per cent because all these systems of "prête-noms'' [straw man schemes] — these systems were used mainly by the Liberal party, but also by the Parti Québécois.

MF: Would you support Mr. Couillard as far as saying that leaders should publish their tax returns and the list of assets for them and their spouses?

FD: Why not? I think it's a good way to restore confidence between the people who vote and the politicians, because many people ask themselves these kinds of questions.

MF: The Parti Québécois says this election is about integrity. The Liberals say it is about "les vraies affaires'' — the economy, health care, but they also say if you vote for the Parti Québécois you are voting for a referendum. If you vote for Québec Solidaire, which is also a party that supports the pursuit of Quebec independence, are you voting for a referendum?

FD: I will be very sincere. If we vote for Québec Solidaire, and Québec Solidaire becomes a government, this government will create a constituent assembly elected by all the people of Quebec and this assembly will have two mandates: [create] a new constitution for Quebec and ask people how they see the future of Quebec, inside the Canadian federation or not, and people will decide. 
Quebec Solidaire spokes person Françoise David comments on the election call with fellow MNA Amir Khadir in Montreal. (Paul Chiasson/CP)

It's not me who will decide. I will say what I think, but it will be the population who will decide. We will do that when we form a government, in the first mandate.

MF: If the PQ takes power again with a minority government, and it wants to launch a referendum and you hold the balance of power, would you vote "yes" to consult Quebecers on a yes or no independence question?

FD: We will say yes if the process is completely democratic and if it permits all people to express their opinion and to vote. If these conditions are met, yes we will vote "yes".

MF: There are people on the left in Quebec who are angry with you for splitting the left vote, taking votes away from the Parti Québécois. You say you're promoting left-wing causes, but are you weakening the left in Quebec and possibly allowing the Liberals to take a majority government?

FD: It's exactly the contrary, but you know the PQ [has been] angry with Québec Solidaire since the beginning. It's not new. Do we divide the left-wing people in the sovereigntist movement? No, we unite them. There's no place in the Parti Québécois for a real left-wing person. That was true many years ago, [but] for the moment, it's not true.

MF: Did Pauline Marois sell her soul a bit by bringing Pierre Karl Péladeau on board the PQ team?

FD: Difficult question. I think Madame Marois thought that it would be a good thing to have a big businessman in the Parti Québécois; that tells people in business they don't have to be afraid of the Parti Québécois because one of the most important businessmen is on the side of sovereignty, on the side of the Parti Québécois.

I suppose it was a strategic thought, but finally that divides the sovereigntists. Mr. Péladeau is the symbol of a very, very [uncompromising] businessman with the workers, it's too much.

MF: A lot of federalists in your riding of Gouin who don't want to vote for the Parti Québécois may well choose you. How comfortable do you feel having those federalist votes from non-francophones supporting you?

FD: Everyone has the right to vote for me, and for Québec Solidaire.

Last Friday I met an anglophone in my riding, and he told me really how much he is a federalist, but also how much he's a left-wing guy and for him [the environment] was really important.

So he said "What can I do?" and I said, "Vote for me ... In the end, if really you don't want to see Quebec be a country, you will have the possibility to say no. I will say yes and will explain why we have to say yes, but democratically you will do what you want."