MONTREAL — One of the most hardline sovereigntists in Quebec’s legislature was crowned leader of the federal Bloc Quebecois on Saturday after no other candidates emerged to oppose her.
Martine Ouellet is a former Parti Quebecois cabinet minister who now sits in Quebec’s legislature as an independent.
She wasted no time going after Justin Trudeau, telling a rally Saturday that the prime minister is a friend of the oil companies.
She also reiterated her commitment to Quebec’s independence.
“Our adversaries say we’re closed, but it’s exactly the opposite,” she said. “It’s because we’re open to the planet that we want to become a country.”
The only other potential candidate in the race, Felix Pinel, said earlier this week that he hadn’t collected enough signatures to run.
Ouellet, 47, ran twice to become Parti Quebecois leader, and finished third in the most recent leadership race in 2016.
In that race she was the only candidate who promised to hold a sovereignty referendum in a first mandate if elected premier.
She has said she plans to keep her seat in Quebec’s legislature while serving as Bloc leader until her mandate is up in 2018.
On Saturday, Ouellet promised to protect Quebec’s environment and fight to end tax havens and the exodus of company headquarters from the province.
She also said she would fight the Energy East pipeline, which she called “the worst threat to fresh water in Quebec.”
The Bloc Quebecois holds 10 seats in the House of Commons.
Rheal Fortin has been interim leader since Gilles Duceppe resigned after he failed to win a seat in the last federal election.
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