Véronique Hivon announces Parti Québécois leadership bid

The MNA for Joliette is the first person to formally enter the race to replace Pierre Karl Péladeau, who stepped down suddenly on Monday.

MNA for Joliette is 1st to announce candidacy after sudden resignation of former leader Pierre Karl Péladeau

"We will renovate our house, leaving it wide open to ask ourselves questions," Véronique Hivon said Monday in Joliette, when she announced her bid to run for the PQ leadership. (Ryan Hicks/CBC)

Véronique Hivon officially launched her campaign for the Parti Québécois leadership on Monday, promising to make the pro-independence party "the motor of change."

Hivon, 46, made the announcement in her riding of Joliette, north of Montreal.

"I'm very happy to be a candidate for the Parti Québécois," she told a news conference.

"This big social, democratic party must be the motor of change for all Quebecers."

Hivon is the first person to formally enter the race to replace Pierre Karl Péladeau, who stepped down suddenly last week. 

Hivon, who has a law degree from McGill University and a master's degree in social policy from the London School of Economics, has been a PQ MNA since 2008.

"I wanted to contribute to change politics, from the inside."

She came to prominence for her role drafting Quebec's end-of-life care legislation.

Hivon also served as the province's social services and youth protection minister from 2012 to 2014.

Her campaign slogan is "Faisons-nous confiance" – Trust Each Other.

"A lot of Quebecers, and we can all understand them at least a little, are disillusioned by politics," she said. 

"I am not disillusioned. The wager I want to make with you is that we will rebuild trust. Let's be the party that shows it understands that we can't go forward like this."

Hivon also talked about the importance of keeping the fight for sovereignty alive and making the concept more concrete.

"Sovereignty must be back in people's hearts. It can't be a dream that is over and in the past. It has to be very close to us," Hivon said, adding that she is in no rush to make Quebec a country.

"It is time we talk about the project [of sovereignty], and not focus on a timeline or a date on a calendar."

Hivon also thanked Péladeau for leaving his comfort zone to enter politics.

She said her campaign will focus on main themes, including social justice, economic development, environmental and sustainable development and the promotion of the French language.

"I want to be the leader of a reinvented Parti Québécois."

Hivon said she will dedicate one day a week to her family throughout the leadership race.

Other candidates?

At a news conference earlier today, fellow MNA Martine Ouellet said she hasn't yet decided if she will run. 

Other candidates rumoured to be considering joining the race are former cabinet minister Alexandre Cloutier and long-time PQ insider Jean-François Lisée.​

Legislature veteran Sylvain Gaudreault is serving as interim leader.

Party members will elect a new leader between Sept. 15 and Oct. 15.

with files from CBC journalist Ryan Hicks and Canadian Press