On the way to the elections | A proxy without a filter

According to the Québec election projections site,125 Pascal Bérubé could be the only Parti Québécois elected on October 3. But to those who predict the death of the PQ, the MP replies: “Shut up! »

Posted at 5:00 am

Fanny Levesque

Fanny Levesque
The press

Photos: Philippe Boivin
The press

(Matane) It is around noon when we meet Pascal Bérubé in his constituency office on Fraser Street.

“Welcome to Matane! “Release the deputy and open the door wide. On this gray and foggy Sunday in June he is alone at work. This is far from exceptional, as evidenced by recent area resident Richard Z. Sirois, who happens to drop by when he sees us. “His tank is still there,” says the comedian.

Photo Philippe Boivin, THE PRESS

Richard Z. Sirois, comedian and activist of the Parti Québécois, with Pascal Bérubé

Pascal Bérubé accepted the invitation to spend a few hours with him The press as political parties prepare for the October 3 election confrontation. On his way to the Esprit-Saint factory in the neighboring town of Reit, where he lends a hand in recruiting the Parti Québécois in Rimouski.

“Are you a smoker?” he asks, looking forward to the 140 km descent in our company. A journey in which he opens up without a filter. And where the “you” quickly gives way to the “you”.

The week that has just ended has been particularly difficult for the PQ, with the departure of former Prime Minister Lucien Bouchard and the crackdown on the CAQ, which recruited Bernard Drainville. Political Analysts Are Having a Big Day: Is This the Death of the PQ?

Photo Philippe Boivin, THE PRESS

Pascal Bérubé in his office in Matane

At the wheel of his vehicle, Pascal Bérubé has had enough of defeatist speeches. He speaks bluntly: “This has to stop, it’s useless,” he argues.

“Do you want us to have a good campaign based on ideas and suggestions? OK, shut up. […] I’m telling you this won’t happen. So if we want an exciting election, I invite all doomsayers and those who think they’re original for the umpteenth time to shut up.

“What if you’re the only one getting elected on October 3rd?”

– It won’t arrive. Hypothetical question, I pass. I don’t want to answer that.

“But do you ever think about it?”

– Never. I’m not afraid of anything in life. I’m not afraid of anything in politics. »

Reputed to be a hard worker, the Matane-Matapédia member is driven by adversity. He “doesn’t believe” in scenarios that the coalition avenir Québec will win 100 seats in the next elections. He is betting that the Parti Québécois will make gains and not be confined to eastern Quebec.

“Will it be hard? Perfect. I want to be on this team. »

constant stress

Pascal Bérubé parks the car in front of a supermarket on Route 132. He comes out with a guru and a pack of cigarettes. He managed to kick that bad habit this winter, but he just relapsed. He inhales a few puffs before returning to his seat. “My girlfriend is angry,” he breathes.

However, behind its tireless fighter look certain weak points are hidden. “I’m nervous all the time, I have regular anxiety attacks,” he reveals.

People think it’s funny, Bérubé making speeches, no notes, but the energy it takes me at first, the fear …

Pascal Bérubé, MNA for riding Matane-Matapédia

“I’m afraid that I’ll get dizzy, that I’ll always faint at the beginning of speeches. “A few days before our interview, he almost didn’t speak at an event in Quebec. “I waved to Paul [St-Pierre Plamondon, le chef du PQ] that I wouldn’t be able to,” he says, but he eventually made it.

In 2014, when he was tourism minister, he had also suffered a brief malaise before speaking at the Quebec cruise forum.

Photo Philippe Boivin, THE PRESS

Pascal Bérubé in the church of Esprit-Saint for a flea market

Over time, Pascal Bérubé approached his relationship with work without taboos. He doesn’t deny that his life revolves around it. He replies within a minute and doesn’t miss anyone on social media. “I’ve slept four hours a night for years. I can’t wait for tomorrow morning to start because I’m ahead of the others. […] I’m a weird guy. »

His role model is former MP François Gendron, dean of the National Assembly, of which he was a member for 42 years. Already 15 years behind, he jokes that he could break the record.

“Can you imagine doing this for a long time?

“As long as my health allows. »

“I don’t want to be prime minister”

Photo Philippe Boivin, THE PRESS

Pascal Bérubé in the Heilig-Geist-Kirche

Pascal Bérubé starting position one towards Métis-sur-Mer. Fascinated by history, he has an anecdote for everything and knows his constituency like the back of his hand. “I know he’s doing it on purpose,” he says, pointing to a Canadian flag that flies on the grounds of an opulent residence.

The deputy governs in Matane-Matapédia, where he won in 2018 with a historic majority of 17,279 votes. A May Léger poll commissioned by the PQ found that 92% of his fellow citizens were satisfied with his job. Those who say they don’t take anything for granted admit that this record has reinforced their decision to seek a new mandate.

Photo Philippe Boivin, THE PRESS

Pascal Bérubé, MNA for riding Matane-Matapédia

I asked myself the question […]. I had several big offers, private and public, I turned them all down. Nothing pleased me more than being an MP.

Pascal Bérubé, MNA for riding Matane-Matapédia

In fact, the 47-year-old finds it difficult to imagine himself in any other role. Not even as leader of the Parti Québécois. “Never,” he says, emphasizing the word.

“I have no interest in it […]. It is about becoming Prime Minister and I have no desire to become Prime Minister,” explains the one who was interim leader of the party from 2018 before Paul St-Pierre Plamondon was elected to the leadership.

Arriving at the destination, Pascal Bérubé immediately gets out of the vehicle. Along the way, he said he had a “fascination” with history and relics from another era. He runs the bazaars. It is served: The work of the Holy Spirit heralds the “full flow of supplies.”

He briefly greets the handful of volunteers – he later apologizes – lured by the old things arranged on large tables. It was in these crowded places that Jacques Parizeau gave a speech in 1971 during Operation Dignity II, a major popular protest movement against the closure of villages.

The Holy Spirit Church is not what it used to be. A bit like the Parti Québécois.

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