So, is that it for Le Bloc now!

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NorthReport
So, is that it for Le Bloc now!
NorthReport
NorthReport

Little room for Bloc as Quebec’s champion in Parliament

Efforts by the NDP, Conservatives and Liberals to shore up support may finally bust the myth that Quebec needs a party like the Bloc Québécois to represent its interests in the House of Commons,

https://www.thestar.com/opinion/star-columnists/2018/05/02/little-room-f...

NorthReport

Former Bloc leader Michel Gauthier joins Conservatives

https://globalnews.ca/news/4204906/former-bloc-leader-michel-gauthier-jo...

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

NorthReport wrote:

Little room for Bloc as Quebec’s champion in Parliament

Efforts by the NDP, Conservatives and Liberals to shore up support may finally bust the myth that Quebec needs a party like the Bloc Québécois to represent its interests in the House of Commons,

https://www.thestar.com/opinion/star-columnists/2018/05/02/little-room-f...

Y'know, I probably never would've voted BQ, but I'm not sure why you're taking so much vindictive glee in their possible demise.  It's not as if they did any particular harm in the House-and they DID play a major role in wiping out the federal PC's in '93.  

The Bloc was not the product of some sort of diabolical conspiracy.  They won seats because there were a number of crucial issues in Quebec that NONE of the existing federal parties, including the NDP, came anywhere close to addressing.  They didn't take any seats the NDP itself had any possible chance of winning at the time-the Dipper "we're just as federalist as 'les rouges' and 'les bleus' " stance of the Eighties and Nineties guaranteed that the NDP could not win Quebec seats in that era, meaning that, the first eight years, the Bloc was effectively the only "left" party in Quebec.

The Bloc is probably going to die out now as the Creditistes did, but it's hard to understand why you would hold this much of a grudge against them.

NorthReport

It's unfortunate Michel Gauthier has decided to join the Conservatives, as if I recollect, he was quite effective in the House of Commons, at least. 

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

People like Gauthier and Ouellet did in the Bloc.

Ouellet,who should have resigned or moved out from being leader is a power hungry little tyrant. This is what divided them in the first place.Gauthier has supposedly 'renounced' sovereignty to join the Conservatives because he saw the ship was sinking fast and he wanted to save his political skin. Of course,this does not mean he'll be re-elected in 2019.

It's about time that the Bloc packed it in. The reality is that they were never a seriously viable party to begin with. The only thing they accomplished was splitting votes. They were never going to make up an Opposition government,never mind making up a government at all.

I hated Bouchard, I liked Duceppe up until he became BFF's with Péladeau.

I'm glad they are gone,Salut,good-bye. Now all Quebecers can have a chance for a voice in Parliament instead of propping up political careers of people who are more interested in their pension,or in the case of Oullet, overly ambitious and looking to be leader of any party she could hitch her ride to.

Good riddance.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

The big problem the Bloc faced in '93 and '97 was that they won too MANY seats.  To have had any chance at achieving any of their objectives(not all of which were about sovereignty), they needed to win enough seats to deny any major party a majority.  Instead of doing that, they almost wiped out the PC's in Quebec and in doing so helped Chretien win an artificial landslide.  It was inevitable that a party like the BQ would emerge at the time they did, though.  Nothing the PC's or the Liberals would have been willing to do could have prevented that, and the NDP wasn't a factor in Quebec at that point.

lagatta4

That is true. I think it is important to remember that at the time, the Bloc was very often a progressive force. Gilles Duceppe was a union organiser with the CSN; he was very much involved in organising hotel and restaurant workers, hospital workers and other contingents where many allophones were present. The niqab = oil spill ad made me very sad, little as I like niqab. It was conflating immigrant women with toxic pollution.

The Bloc always had an emphasis on bringing immigrant and racialised people onside as candidates, such as Osvaldo Núñez  and Viviane Barbot.

Unionist

I liked the Bloc of Gilles Duceppe, for much the same reasons lagatta enumerated above. They were the closest on the federal scene to our union struggles and weren't shy to side with workers and other progressive causes. I voted for them in Outremont - for Amir Khadir (did you know he ran for the Bloc in 2000?), for François Rebello (because I liked him), and even held my nose in 2006 and voted strategically for Jacques Léonard. The main prize was always strategic - trying (unsuccessfully) to unseat the long-last Liberal dynasty. All that ended for me in 2007, when Tom Mulcair left the provincial Liberals to join the federal NDP, ran in a byelection, hit all the right notes (for me), and won - I've voted NDP ever since, despite their nonstop bullshit. At least they can beat the Liberals in Outremont - and at least they adopted the Sherbrooke Declaration, which effectively (more or less) recognized Québec's right to self-determination on a 50% + 1 vote, and without interfering in the referendum question.

Then one day, Gilles started taking inconsistent positions on Afghanistan, and whipped his caucus to vote the wrong way on an NDP motion to withdraw from Afghanistan. I asked him what the hell he was doing, and never got a decent answer. I think this was after I had stopped voting Bloc, but still - that soured me on Gilles.

I didn't care, and don't care, what anyone's position is on whether Québec should or should not separate from the federation. Those are legitimate personal and political choices. So long as Québec's right to leave is recognized, the rest is fine. I personally believe the federation can be healed and maintained, and I don't like some of the centrifugal forces which (for example) led many independentists (including Jacques Parizeau) to support the Free Trade Agreement with the U.S. in the late 1980s and 1990s, because they saw it as a potential lever against Ottawa. For me, the interests of workers and marginalized people come first. I wish QS would get the "we support independence" thing out of their platform, because it's unnecessary - but I understand sadly why it's there.

I think history has evolved to the point where if there was some utility in having the Bloc in Ottawa, I can't see it now. Bloquistes joining Andrew Scheer is tragic, but hardly surprising.

Good riddance.

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

Unionist wrote:

Then one day, Gilles started taking inconsistent positions on Afghanistan, and whipped his caucus to vote the wrong way on an NDP motion to withdraw from Afghanistan. I asked him what the hell he was doing, and never got a decent answer. I think this was after I had stopped voting Bloc, but still - that soured me on Gilles.

Duceppe really disappointed me when he jumped into bed with PKP and outlined what he wanted for a sovereign Quebec.

He wanted an army. Why would Québec need an army? Especially when the intent was to get involved in the current interventions that are turning the planet into a cesspool.

It came across very pro-war and colonial.

That's not my Québec.

But PKP is a staunch right wing asshole. Maybe that's something PKP wanted and Duceppe agreed blinded by the possibility of a sovereign Québec.That's not an excuse. I lost a lot of respect for him because of that.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

This is nothing more than my own personal opinion, but it seems to me that when federal (or even provincial) parties self-identify around ONE issue, they're probably not going to thrive.  Animal rights, marijuana legalization, Christianity, Quebec sovereignty, paying less in taxes... they're all things that people can believe in, but are we really going to vote for a party because of their stand on ONE issue?

That's like living on a diet of solely bananas.  Lacking in many dietary requirements, but giving us a quadruple dose of the potassium we need!  Whatever I don't get in necessary amino acids, I'll just make up for with more and more potassium!

I'm tempted to repost the photo of Duceppe in the hair-net at Le Factory Du Fromage Francais, but it would only get Lagatta all wound up.  ;)

FWIW, the funny part of that pic was not, in fact, the hairnet.  I totally agree that they're a normal thing, that we want, in the food industry.  It's that he looked like someone sneak-kicked him in the crotch.  That, and the sense that at that very instant he suddenly realized that this photo was going to make him look like one of the mushrooms from Mario Kart.

cco

Mr. Magoo wrote:

This is nothing more than my own personal opinion, but it seems to me that when federal (or even provincial) parties self-identify around ONE issue, they're probably not going to thrive.  Animal rights, marijuana legalization, Christianity, Quebec sovereignty, paying less in taxes... they're all things that people can believe in, but are we really going to vote for a party because of their stand on ONE issue?

Well, people did, for 18 years. Though the latter-day Bloc wasn't quite as single-issue as it looked from outside Québec.

Unionist

Magoo - as cco said, the Bloc was never a "single-issue" party. They took many strong progressive stands in the House. They knew and acknowledged that independence would never be achieved in Ottawa. But gradually, their presence and influence (I believe) achieved some change, if just for the opportunistic purposes of other parties being able to compete in Québec. The NDP adopting the Sherbrooke Declaration is a prime example - and I'm convinced it played a role in the 2011 Orange wave. Likewise for Harper's opportunistic (but better than nothing) motion in the House declaring "Québécois" (never clarified who that meant) constituted a nation within a united Canada. Baby steps. 

6079_Smith_W

Not that any of them are, I agree Unionist, but Sinn Fein has done not bad, for being over 100 years old. We'll see what happens with the SNP.

And some other more mainstream regional parties seem stable enough, like, CSU in Bayern.

I think continued freakout in Anglophone Canada is evidence of how important they have been, and denial of how much they have changed the landscape. Case in point,  as you say if such a movement is necessary again it probably won't act through the federal parliament. Why bother?

And while the "single issue" argument is often used against sovereigntist parties, for some reason we don't see it as single issue when it is the interests of industrialists, banks, and military.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Though the latter-day Bloc wasn't quite as single-issue as it looked from outside Québec.

Do you mean that they added in other important things like "no burqas for our ladies"?

Quote:
Likewise for Harper's opportunistic (but better than nothing) motion in the House declaring "Québécois" (never clarified who that meant) constituted a nation within a united Canada. Baby steps.

OK.  But was that the plan all along?  Or was it just the fallout/consolation prize for promoting what I called their single interest?

Quote:
And while the "single issue" argument is often used against sovereigntist parties, for some reason we don't see it as single issue when it is the interests of industrialists, banks, and military.

And at the same time, completely understand it when it's the Animal Liberation Party, or whatever.

I'm sure that single interest parties have at least a little something to say about other issues.  I just can't take them seriously when "jobs" or "the environment" are numbers 6 and 8 on the list, but legal dope, prayer in school, veganism or "patriotism" is number one.

I've never, ever, felt or said that we must prevent the people of Quebec from choosing their own path.  But I just don't know how successful a party that makes that their number one priority can expect to be (other than with voters who make that their number one priority).

The municipal analogy:  vote for the "Stop Sign At Wilson And Dunsmere" Party.  They're ready to fight to the death for the only thing you presumably care about!

lagatta4

Oh, I laughed as much as anyone about the hairnet photo, but retain my retort "Do you want hair in your cheese?" This evokes Gilles Duceppe but even more Nigella Lawson, whose cooking shows feature her in expensive cashmere pullovers and long black hair (as I had before it greyed, as hers too nya nya nya). Even if the hair is freshly washed, it isn't very pleasant in cheese or any other food!