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On Friday evening, Pierre Karl Péladeau will most likely become the Parti Québécois' eighth leader, and arguably the most radical of them all.

By the tone of his speeches and his Facebook posts, Mr. Péladeau sounds very much like an old-time nationalist raging against the federal government, "Anglo-Saxons" and immigration.

Once he becomes official leader of the opposition, he might tone down his rhetoric in an effort to appeal to a larger audience. But I fail to see how he plans to convert non-PQ members, especially the younger generation.

His last political rally of the leadership campaign was a gathering of veteran activists. Folk singer Paul Piché, of course, was there. He's been a fixture in any nationalist gathering worth mentioning for the last four decades. Bernard Landry, the former PQ premier, was there too, as was an 81-year-old historian lamenting on the lack of knowledge of Québécois history. Then there was an awkward attempt by Mr. Péladeau to sing. Montreal Gazette columnist Don Macpherson described the whole scene as outdated and "Felliniesque."

Last month, Mr. Péladeau said it was difficult to reconcile data in a poll suggesting the PQ support had dropped to 30 per cent (from 37 two months earlier), while support for sovereingty had climbed to 41 per cent. It doesn't add up, he seemed to say.

Well, maybe the numbers do add up. They seem to reinforce the view that that the PQ is losing traction even among those favouring an independent Quebec. And PKP has not shown that he might reverse that trend.

A poll last year put the PQ in fourth place among 18- to 24-year-olds in Quebec, at 16 per cent. (That's a complete and catastrophic reversal for the PQ compared to the glory days.) Members of this generation, who went to French school with newcomers from all around the world, are not seduced at all by the PQ's so-called charter of values that's more popular among baby boomers.

My guess is that the young are even less impressed by Mr. Péladeau's perception of immigrants.

Independentists don't have 25 years in front of them to "create a country," said Mr. Péladeau in a debate; with immigration, they will "certainly lose one riding every year," he lamented. He withdrew his comment the next day after a storm of criticism, including from his own ranks. Nonetheless, this off-the-cuff attempt at demographic analysis spoke volumes about his true feelings.

The road ahead for the new PQ leader will be steep. The next elections are three and a half years ahead. Two of his leadership opponents recently described scenes of PKP using abusive language. The two other parties happily paint him as a bully.

In his own party, some dare to raise questions about his ownership of the largest media empire in Quebec. Just a silent shareholder ? Brian Mulroney, chairman of the board of Québecor, said last week there will be be "some contact" with Mr. Péladeau: "There has to be, he's the controlling shareholder."

His past as an anti-union boss will haunt him. Confronted in Saguenay this week by mechanics locked out for 26 months by area auto dealers, Mr. Péladeau tried compassion: "To see 450 families out of work, suffer a long conflict, is not desirable in 2015, "he said. "These people should put pressure on the government." His advice comes too late for workers at the Journal de Montréal and other divisions of Québecor who were locked out for years by Mr. Péladeau.

But hey, the man in charge of renewing this aging party is a brand new PKP – even if he sings an old tune.