Sylvain Roy believes PQ leader wanted to get rid of him

Former Parti Québécois (PQ) MNA Sylvain Roy is speaking out to say he believes he was "discredited" by party leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon.

Roy alleges St-Pierre Plamondon did everything possible to oust him from caucus because he did not fit in with the party's new vision.

He says he sees it as a lack of respect, not only towards him, but also towards his former PQ colleagues.

St-Pierre Plamondon wants "the elimination of old PQ members to rejuvenate his parliamentary wing and give an image of renewal to the party," the Bonaventure MNA alleged Sunday in an exclusive telephone interview with The Canadian Press.

"He threw me under the bus," said Roy, who became an independent Friday, adding he lost sleep over the debate before concluding that he had to leave caucus before being expelled.

"I was too much," said Roy, stating he brought up several issues that the "higher-ups" did not want to hear.

According to him, St-Pierre Plamondon wanted him to give up his seat so lawyer and ex-journalist Alexis Deschênes could run in Bonaventure in 2022.

NO INTEREST IN THE CAQ

Sylvain Roy also put an end to rumours suggesting that he could make the move to the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ).

He insists he has never been approached by the CAQ and he has "no interest" in the "urban-centrist" party.

The 56-year-old MNA, who still calls himself a sovereignist, will sit as an independent until the end of his mandate, but has not excluded the idea of running again in 2022. He says he has not made a decision.

Roy says he is saddened by the turn of events and is "very worried" about the future of the PQ, a party "that is not capable of respecting its members."

The rupture between Roy and the PQ began before St-Pierre Plamondon took over as leader, he alleges, because "I have been shown the door for a long time," adding things only "accelerated" after St-Pierre Plamondon took over as leader last October.

He mused about whether the 44-year-old "would still be the leader in 2022," noting the challenge of the next election will be to "not lose" the few seats the PQ still holds.

After the 2018 elections, the party had 10 MNAs. That number has since dwindled to seven, the lowest in nearly half a century.

When asked if St-Pierre Plamondon is a unifying leader, he stated, "look at the polls," which place the PQ at the bottom of the voting intentions scale.

Roy says he believes the leader's "modernization" attempts are actually a step backward.

He states the straw that broke the camel's back was the fact that his leader would not defend his position on Bill 59, the reform of the occupational health and safety system.

The feud was further aggravated when St-Pierre Plamondon stated he was in favour of imposing Bill 101 on CEGEPs, which Roy does not agree with.

A sociologist by training, as well as a former teacher and lumberjack, Roy was first elected in 2012; he was re-elected in 2014 and 2018, while he suffered from throat cancer, from which he has now recovered.

Roy says he plans to give a public update on his future on Monday.

-- This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on June 7, 2021. 

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