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PQ leader speaks at Dawson College, shares views on charter of values

Click to play video: 'PQ courts young, English voters' PQ courts young, English voters
WATCH ABOVE: Parti Québécois leader Jean-François Lisée spoke at Dawson College in the hopes of promoting the party among young, English voters, but as Global's Navneet Pall reports, not everyone was convinced with what he had to say – Feb 10, 2017

Parti Québecois leader Jean-Francois Lisée took the opportunity to reach out to Quebec’s Anglophone community by speaking in front of students at Dawson College.

“It’s not your grandfather’s Parti Québecois,” Lisée said as he promoted his party.

Lisée reiterated that if elected in 2018, he would not hold a referendum on sovereignty in his first mandate.

“For us, an independent Quebec is the best thing that could happen,” Lisée said. “But there are not enough of us that think that right now.”

READ MORE: PQ Leader Jean-Francois Lisée speaks on health, Trump and trade

The PQ leader was invited to speak by Dawson College.

The school’s director general Richard Filion believed the PQ leader is trying to build bridges with the next generation of voters.

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“The first idea to postpone the idea of referendum, I think it’s a really smart one,” Filion said. “We know that every single election, the referendum is agitated as a scarecrow by those who are against independence.”

Among other issues Lisée touched on was the Quebec charter of values, the controversial legislation that would have banned civil servants from wearing religious symbols in public institutions.

For Lisée, his stance on the issue was made clear in an anecdote he offered to the audience.

“When I go to get my permit to drive, I don’t want to know if the civil servant likes whales or tar sands, or the Pope or Islam or Greenpeace,” Lisée said.

READ MORE: Drainville: New Charter of Quebec Values will help fight fundamentalism

A point of view not shared by Dawson College student Melissa Sistanis.

“If you don’t care, why does it bother you? If someone wants to wear a hijab, that’s her choice, it doesn’t concern you,” Sistanis said. “So why are you asking yourself these questions, just get your driver’s licence and leave.”

For Adeline Guèdègbé, the charter of values will guide her vote in 2018.

“I feel we are many different people and we need to embrace our differences rather than strip them away,” Guèdègbé said. “If I want to vote for a party I want to know and feel like they support minority rights or different religions and I don’t feel like that’s the party that does it best.”

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The next provincial election is scheduled for October 2018.

The latest CROP poll shows the Liberal Party ahead of the PQ with 35 per cent to 27 per cent in voter intention.

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