I am 37 years old, trilingual, and I received my bachelors in business administration from UQAM. I have been working in the hospitality and restaurant industries for the last twelve years. I was involved in my local union for six years, been president of my condominium board for the last two years, volunteered for Nez Rouge for many years, and I have worked with adults with intellectual disabilities for seven years. These experiences have shaped me to the person I am today: a progressive man willing to defend social democratic values. I have always believed in duty. I am here because it is time to roll up our sleeves and get to work in building a Quebec that brings hope, speaks for every Québecer, and cares about the collective good; it is time to be innovative by doing things differently. It is time for the NDPQ to work for all Québecers no matter langugage, ethnicity, or gender. That is why I want to lead this party. I am ready, that is for sure!
I first involved myself in politics in that famous by-election of 2007 in Outremont. If you do not know what I am referring to, I am talking about the breakthrough in Québec before the Orange Wave. This was the by-election where Tom Mulcair was. I was really impressed with his morals and strength of character after he quit the provincial Liberal government because of the Mount Orford scandal.
I regularly volunteered, knocking on doors with him and even with Olivia Chow (the wife of the late Jack Layton) one time. I was then motivated to run as a candidate in that next election, which I did in the riding of Verchères-Les Patriotes, in 2008, where I made a net gain of 7.5% over the 2006 result.
I ran again in 2015 in the new riding of Pierre-Boucher-Les Patriotes-Verchères, where I campaigned for over a year. It was a demanding and grueling campaign.
In 2016, I joined a group of progressive Québecers, who are committed to building a progressive alternative to fight the cynicism of today's politics.
Dedicated to public service
In leading NDP Québec, I will bring the same energy and heart that Jack Layton had in 2011. We live in a time where Québecers are disullisioned with their provincial government, which focuses on divisive and unimportant issues.
I decided, by running for leader of this new party, to be myself and to do what seems right. In other words, I decided to take action and put my energy into what really matters to me: building the Québec of tomorrow. I learned from my family to be around people of diverse backgrounds, to learn from them, and to keep an open mind. In recent years, my actions have always had the goal of enriching the debate, beyond partisanship. We all believe in our own ideal Québec, sometimes meaning our own idea for Québec could be slightly different from each other. The vision I am putting forth is one that unites all Québecers around a real social project.
I have always believed that a society thrives when we make it possible for different opinions to be heard. It is one of the reasons why I am capable to listen and to respect my political opponents with views different from my own.
Getting back on my feet
After the 2015 federal election, I learned a hard lesson that only life can teach us. I learned that nothing is given to you, learned to get back on my feet, and then learned to move forward despite life's obstacles. Of course, people around me and people who volunteered for my 2015 campaign told me that I have demonstrated an ability to lead and even possess an ability to give hope. Many even encouraged me to continue to pursue my career in politics. Others told me to continue, while keeping my passion, authenticity, integrity, and directness. For example, one of my former professors, who is now a friend, said to me:
"Politics is an extreme sport. The score was close, but this experience showed how much courage you have, how much determination you have, and how much commitment you have. [...] It is a victory for yourself that you developed new life skills throughout the campaign."
I understood that I was going to get back on my feet to pursue my passion for politics by bringing a new positive style.
Building the Québec of tomorrow
Today, I ask myself: What kind of government do we want? How do we reinvent how we do democracy? In which way do we change things? How do we raise enthusiasm? Why does each elected government struggle in handling the needs of some with the desires and demands of others? Where are the real builders? It is time to build and it is time to restore; we need to think of our social infrastructure and our infrastructure in education, to name a few. What are we going to leave to our future generations? What are Québecers going to think of us in 100 years?
I am here to help build the Québec of tomorrow, because in the end, the Québec that we inherited, we are only the protectors for those who will follow us. I am here to help build the Québec which we will be proud to give to our future generations.