Green party's Pierre Nantel calls for Quebec independence 'as fast as possible'

The New Democratic Party says it is removing Quebec MP Pierre Nantel as an NDP candidate "given confirmed reports" that he is in discussions with another party to run under their banner. NDP MP Pierre Nantel rises during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, June 5, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

A prominent federal Green party candidate told an internet radio show Tuesday he wants Quebec to separate from Canada as soon as possible.

Pierre Nantel, who won his riding south of Montreal for the NDP in 2011 and in 2015, said if a Quebec independence referendum were held, he would vote yes.

The NDP expelled him in August after they learned he was courting at least one other party.

Green party leader Elizabeth May confirmed later that month that Nantel would run under the Green banner in the same Longueuil-Saint-Hubert riding he has represented for the New Democrats.

Nantel's comments about Quebec independence came during a conversation with host Benoit Dutrizac of QUB radio about the province's new secularism legislation, which forbids some public sector workers from wearing religious symbols on the job.

May has criticized the bill but said she would accept ``dissension'' within party ranks on the issue. Nantel said he made sure before joining the Greens that he could openly support Bill 21, adding that he had told May she needed to ``defend the nationalism of Quebecers in Ottawa.''