Remember that Quebec separatist party that got decimated in that one election? No, not the Parti Quebecois. The other one. The one that sounds like Francophone Lego manufacturer. The French Block? The Quebec Block? The Bloc Quebecois.
After the previous leader of the Bloc Quebecois, Daniel Paillé, resigned, the fate of the party has been in question. Beaulieu has swooped in and saved the day, courageously fighting for the top seat in the party’s catacombs.
“Fighting,” as in, beating the single opponent that he faced in a leadership race. There seems to be growing consensus that running BlackBerry is an easier job than running the Bloc.
In his acceptance speech, the fleur-de-lis standard bearer proclaimed “The Bloc Québécois will be the motor behind the relaunching of the separatist movement. We’ve been waiting for this moment for 20 years, the time for waiting is over.”
We’ve been waiting for this moment for 20 years because the last 20 were not a cataclysm of separatist-federalist turmoil. The Parti Quebecois was soundly defeated in a recent provincial election, but who cares about that? Beaulieu is a visionary who understands that Quebec is destined liberation from the shackles of a highly decentralized, open, developed, and prosperous nation. The federal government was quick to respond to the unfolding events. Stephen Harper’s right-hand-man in Quebec, Denis Liebel said “Quebecers said clearly that they are fed up with the old quarrels. The Bloc has had its day” in a statement.
During his acceptance speech, the audience around Mario Beaulieu began to chant the infamous Front de libération du Québec (FLQ) slogan: “Nous vaincrons” or “We will conquer.” Beaulieu joined his fellow Bloc Quebecois….Quebecoises in their anti-federalist chanting.
Gilles Ducceppe, former Bloc leader and resident bitter Francophone, took offense to comments made by Beaulieu, and fired back “Talking about 20 years of defeatism is lying, it’s pure demagogy, period.” Either someone’s feelings are hurt, or there is a separation forming within a separatist party.
Perhaps they should hold a referendum on the future of the Bloc Quebecois. The current Bloc MPs in the House of Commons (all three of them!) showed support for their new leader, who pledged to make sovereignty an issue of the utmost importance. Because it wasn’t already.
Even though the future of the Bloc Quebecois looks grim, there is an undeniable change occurring in the party’s messaging. Mario Beaulieu made it clear that “From now on, we’re going to talk about sovereignty first and worry about getting elected afterward.”
Someone should tell them how that worked out for Pierre-Karl Peledeau and the PQ.