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New Parti Québécois leader makes first appearance at Quebec National Assembly

Click to play video 'New PQ leader’s first visit to National Assembly since victory' New PQ leader’s first visit to National Assembly since victory
WATCH: Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, the new leader of the Parti Québécois, made his first appearance at the National Assembly on Wednesday after his election win last Friday. The 43-year-old lawyer doesn't yet hold a seat but as Raquel Fletcher reports, he says that is not to his disadvantage – Oct 14, 2020

The new leader of the Parti Québécois (PQ), Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, made his first appearance at the Quebec National Assembly on Wednesday.

Though the 43-year-old lawyer doesn’t yet hold a seat, Plamondon says he has no plans to ask one of his nine PQ MNAs to step down in his place.

Read more: After long leadership race, Parti Québécois elects Paul St-Pierre Plamondon

“I don’t even see why I would do that,” he said.

“I have a good team. They are capable of doing an excellent job as they have demonstrated over the past two years.”

Plamondon, also known as PSPP, was elected Friday night, beating out longtime MNA and former cabinet minister Sylvain Gaudreault.

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He won with 56 per cent of the vote on the third round.

READ MORE: Parti Québécois interim leader files police complaint over online threat

Plamondon says not holding a seat will give him the flexibility to do more grassroots work, building the party up, but he will also be present at the National Assembly and hold press conferences.

“There’s a wait-and-see approach in all that, but the bottom line is I don’t see any reason, any fact that would prevent me as a leader of the Parti Quebecois to send our message and to be very present in the media,” Plamondon said.

Former interim leader Pascal Bérubé has a new role as parliamentary leader of the party.

“I’m responsible for all the work here at the National Assembly,” Bérubé explained.

He said he doesn’t think this arrangement will become a case of too many cooks in the kitchen, adding he doesn’t foresee any power struggles.

“I’m second now. The leader is Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, so I’m here to help,” he said.

Read more: Quebec government’s moves to protect French language spark debate amid pandemic

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Plamondon has already led the caucus to accept its first new party position under his leadership.

He said it now recognizes that institutional racism exists in Quebec and Canada. However, the party still rejects the term “systemic discrimination” used by the Viens commission.

“I believe ‘systemic’ is a very broad term and it leads to things like Justin Trudeau saying systemic racism is everywhere, all the time, and we need to fight it everywhere,” he explained.

Click to play video 'Assembly of First Nations’ Chief cancels meeting with Quebec Premier Francois Legault' Assembly of First Nations’ Chief cancels meeting with Quebec Premier Francois Legault
Assembly of First Nations’ Chief cancels meeting with Quebec Premier Francois Legault – Oct 2, 2020