On Tuesday, former Bloc Québécois MP Daniel Paillé declared his intention to run for leadership of the party, joining MPs Jean-François Fortin for the Haute-Gaspésie-La-Mitis-Matapédia riding and Maria Mourani for the Ahuntsic riding.
During the May 2 federal election, the Bloc – formerly known as the Federal Sovereigntist Party – lost 43 out of their previous 47 seats. With only four MPs remaining, the Bloc does not hold an official party status in the House of Commons.
On the night of the party’s defeat, former party head Gilles Duceppe announced his retirement from the Bloc’s leadership, a position he held for 14 years.
Regarding the Bloc’s current status in Quebec, Mourani said in French that support for the party was still “very much alive within Quebec.”
“The Bloc Québécois will continue to promote Quebec’s interest…it’s important that the party represents the voice of Quebec.”
But Quebec sovereignty no longer appears a central issue for many Quebeckers, especially the province’s younger generations.
Marc Olivier Brouillette, a McGill science student and Montrealer said that while there is a Quebec culture that needs to be preserved and promoted, “trying to become a separate country won’t accomplish anything.”
He also added, “It’s important to not have two separate governments, but to have one unified government under Canada.”
Another U1 McGill student and Quebecker, Nick Wathier from St. Henri, spoke to the Bloc’s prominent advocacy for Quebec sovereignty.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea. It’s in the middle of the country; [why] split it in half?”
David Dubois, the Head of Communications for Québec Solidaire, a provincial sovereigntist party, spoke to the need for a reforming Quebec sovereigntism.
“The idea of sovereignty has always been present. [But] the historical sovereigntist movement is experiencing a crisis, it’s undeniable. Therefore, it is necessary to rethink the strategy…we believe that a winning strategy [should]…represent Quebec in all its components: regions, minorities, gender et cetera,” he said in French.
In regards to the future of Quebec’s sovereigntist parties, Dubois continued that “Quebec’s march of independence cannot be used for resentment. It is therefore important to imagine a strategy where the actions for Quebec are…innovative socially and economically.”