MONTREAL — One of Quebec's most prominent young leaders who was at the vanguard of the student protests that rocked the province five years ago announced Thursday he is jumping into politics with the left-wing Quebec solidaire.
Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, 26, said he will seek the party nomination to run in a byelection in the Montreal riding of Gouin.
Quebec solidaire is sovereigntist and the most left-wing party with representation in the legislature.
The party has two of the national assembly's 125 seats and a platform that advocates a massive expansion of the role of the state in Quebecers' lives.
Quebec solidaire doesn't have a party "leader," opting for the more egalitarian title of "spokesperson," which it offers to one female and one male at the same time.
Nadeau-Dubois told reporters during his announcement he wants to become the spokesman.
That title would offer him the opportunity to be on the debate stage with other party leaders during the next provincial election campaign, scheduled for 2018.
Nadeau-Dubois criticized the Opposition Parti Quebecois for previously advocating for fossil fuels and balanced budgets and for now using identity politics to gain support.
"My heart is on the left and I have no desire to get into identity politics," he said.
Despite his criticism of the PQ, Nadeau-Dubois said he is willing to continue talks with the party and to reach agreements on selective topics.
The PQ has said it won't field a candidate in Gouin in order to help ensure Quebec solidaire wins the seat.
Nadeau-Dubois recently returned from a provincewide tour speaking to Quebecers about their concerns.
He became prominent after helping to lead the student movement in 2012 against tuition fee increases.
The nomination meeting is set for March 26.
No date has yet been set for the byelection, which will be held to replace Francoise David, a former Quebec solidaire member of the legislature who resigned earlier this year.
The Canadian Press