Francois Legault may have ruled out a referendum on Quebec's future in Canada, but the premier says he is open to having a referendum on another issue: electoral reform.
"We promised to table a bill with a new type of voting – proportional mixed – before October 1 this year, and we'll do so," Legault said Wednesday.
Some CAQ MNAs raised concerns during a caucus meeting Tuesday night.
"Of course it will be a major change, so it's normal, and we have to consider the different arguments," he said, adding that he told his caucus they have to look at the big picture. "In making our decisions, we have to take into consideration the common interests of Quebecers, not the interests of the CAQ."
There are 125 MNAs at the National Assembly. Under one scenario in a mixed proportional electoral system, only 80 of those MNAs would be elected the traditional way. The remaining 45 candidates would be picked from a list and elected based on their party's overall performance in each of the province's 17 administrative regions.
Last October, the CAQ won a commanding majority with 75 MNAs.
That would not have happened under a mixed proportional system; the party could have lost at least a dozen seats.
That scares some CAQ MNAs, said interim PQ leader Pascal Berube.
"They worry about losing power because they have 60 per cent of the seats and only 37 per cent of the vote. That's the reality," he said.
Legault isn't ruling out a referendum to settle the question, but Quebec solidaire said it isn't necessary.
"We started the election with the commitment that that will be the last election in this old mode," said QS MNA Manon Masse.
Berube said the PQ is open to a referendum on electoral reform.
"The most important thing is to have a new process in 2022 to make sure that democracy is our number one value for the next elections. So we still can do it, and we're optimistic about having a new process," he said.