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Bloc Québécois

Bloc Québécois
Current Leader:Gilles Duceppe
Founded:September 11, 1993
Headquarters:3750 Crémazie Blvd. East
Suite 307
Montreal, Quebec
H2A 1B6
Colours:light blue
Political ideology:social democrat, nationalist
and separatist

The Bloc Québécois is a federal political party in Canada devoted to promoting independence for the Province of Quebec . Members and supporters of the BQ are sometimes called Bloquistes [blɑˈkists], a word formed on analogy to Péquiste (a Parti Québécois supporter).

Table of contents
1 Background
2 Internal division
3 Party Leaders
4 Reference
5 See also
6 External Links


The Bloc Québécois started in 1990 as an informal coalition of Progressive Conservative (PC) and Liberal members of the Parliament of Canada from Quebec, who left their original parties following the defeat of the Meech Lake Accord. This coalition was led by Lucien Bouchard, who had been federal Minister of the Environment until he quit the PC caucus.

In the 1993 election, the Bloc won 54 seats in Quebec, narrowly becoming the official opposition in Canada's parliament.

In the 1995 Quebec referendum, sovereignty was narrowly defeated, with just 50.6 per cent of voters opting to remain in Canada. The day after the referendum, Quebec premier Jacques Parizeau stepped down. Bouchard left federal politics, and was acclaimed the new leader of the Parti Québécois.

The Bloc's leadership was then held by Michel Gauthier. Although the party tends to represent the social democratic side of the political spectrum, it has no particular unifying ideology apart from promoting Quebec sovereignty, so in the wake of the referendum defeat Gauthier proved unable to hold the fractious caucus together, and resigned as leader just a year later. The leadership was then passed to Gilles Duceppe in 1997, who remains as leader of the Bloc today.

In the 1997 federal election the Bloc Québécois dropped to 44 seats, losing official opposition status to the Reform Party.

In the 2000 election, the Bloc dropped further to 38 seats. As well, the Bloc has lost several of those seats in subsequent by-elections, marking the first time since the 1982 patriation of the Constitution that the Liberals have held the majority of Quebec's parliamentary seats.

On December 3, 2003, member of Parliament Robert Lanctôt announced he is quitting the Bloc Québécois and joining the Liberal Party of Canada saying to the press: "After dreaming about sovereignty for 40 years, I said to myself that dreaming is fine, but at a certain point you have to wake up."

Internal division

Like the sovereignty movement as a whole, the Bloc Québécois can generally be divided between those who espouse an inclusive "civil nationalism" for Quebec, and traditional ethnic nationalists. The latter group, which includes vocal MPs Ghislain Lebel and Suzanne Tremblay, is often criticized by the former as being xenophobic and racist, although they are still generally tolerated within the party.

In the 1997 election, a controversy erupted when, at a Quebec rally, Bloc MP Suzanne Tremblay implied that Progressive Conservative Party of Canada leader Jean Charest was not a real ethnic Québécois because his legal first name is "John".

Party Leaders


CBC Backgrounder

See also

Politics of Quebec - Politics of Canada - Parti Quebecois

External Links