LINKS TO MONDO POLITICO: ....Home ....Discussion ....Election Sites ....Library ....News ....Parties

Election 2004
Voter Guide





Election 2000 Results



Political Parties

Jump to Party Descriptions:

Gilles Duceppe
Top of page Top of page Top of page Next Party Previous Party

Leader: Gilles Duceppe

Web Site:


Candidates: None listed on web site as of April 25, 2004.

Political Mission: The Bloc Québécois (also known as the "BQ" or the "Bloc") is a federal political party, though it runs candidates only in the federal electoral districts of Quebec. Its members and supporters come from a broad spectrum of political orientations by the party's central purpose: to promote the secession of Quebec from Canada or, when the desire of Quebecers for secession is weak, to promote the "interests" of Quebec. It is perhaps for this reason that the party's web site is extremely light on details concerning matters of policy or ideology.

Within the BQ can be found not only proponents of Quebec secession and independence, but proponents of Québécois nationalism. The latter view Quebec as a place that is, first a foremost, for "pur laine" (i.e., "pure wool", or "old stock") Quebecers: a place in which the French language, culture is preserved, and in which the future is determined by those with a long, francophone, ancestral history in Quebec, for those with a long, francophone, ancestral history in Quebec, even if to the detriment of newcomers. That nationalist sentiment is perhaps epitomized by the speech given by Parti Québécois leader Jacques Parizeau following the failure of the 1995 Quebec secession bid, in which he blamed the defeat upon "money and the ethnic vote".

Whether simply seeking independence for Quebec, or whether seeking a nation state, the BQ's position on newcomers to Quebec can be summarized being based on the "melting pot" model. The party has been vocal in opposing state-funded multiculturalism:

"In Quebec, the emphasis is on integration. Not assimilation but integration. The official definition of integration is as follows: integration is long term multi-dimensional process of adaptation, distinct from assimilation. In this process, the knowledge and use of the common language of Quebec society is a fundamental driving force. The process is consolidated in a society, where participation by all Quebecers is guaranteed and where immigrants and members of cultural communities find their place and are recognized as full members of the communal, social and political life of a pluralistic francophone society.

This policy has received unanimous approval in Quebec; it is never an issue, unlike the Canadian policy.

We cannot help but notice that multiculturalism enjoys anything but unanimous approval. The Decima and Gallup polls published in 1993 showed that 75 per cent of Canadians rejected the policy of multiculturalism and favoured a style of integration similar to Quebec's.

Given the government's investment in multiculturalism, it is a sad thing to see it fail. For the year 1993-94 alone, the government invested $38,846 million. The program has existed for 20 years. How many billions of dollars have been invested to date in a flawed policy which the country does not want?

The policy is not working and even its target public, members of ethnic communities, are criticizing it. I cite as an example the overwhelming support for Neil Bissoondath's first book. His supporters were unanimous in saying that the government should only concern itself with helping immigrants to integrate into our society and fighting racism-end of story. He noted that the federal government's policy tended to create ethnic ghettos, which in no way foster integration and full participation in political, economic and social life.

We also cannot leave unmentioned the absurdities made possible by the multiculturalism policy. Barely six months ago, a consultation paper from the Minister of Justice proposed that culture or religion be permitted as a defence against criminal charges. Because of the ensuing uproar, the minister had to recant and withdraw the proposal. That is one example of how far some people will go to promote different cultures.

In closing, I would like to stress that a sovereign Quebec would continue to favour integration and respect. The current Minister of International Affairs, Cultural Communities and Immigration, Bernard Landry, confirmed that position just a month ago.

Please allow me to quote him: ``Quebec will not use the public purse to subsidize cultural differences. Our government is against multiculturalism. Although the Quebec government acknowledges the fact that Quebec is multi-ethnic, it favours a policy of cultural convergence in one common culture, fortified by foreign sources''. That sums up well Quebec's position on multiculturalism and deals with the issue effectively."

- BQ MP Christiane Gagnon
House of Commons Hansard, April 5, 1995

Party History: The BQ was founded in 1990 following the failure of federal government and the provinces to amend the Canadian Constitution according to what was titled the Meech Lake Accord: a set of proposals that would constitutionally entrench "recognition" of Quebec as a "distinct society", bilingualism, and other changes that some (notably, Quebec's premier of the time, Robert Bourassa, and Canada's Progressive Conservative Prime Minister of the time, Brian Mulroney) thought would strengthen the Canadian federation.

Comprised at the time of Progressive Conservative ("PC") and Liberal party members who left those parties to form the Bloc, the party's first leader was former PC cabinet minister Lucienne Bouchard. Bouchard led the BQ to win 54 seats in the House of Commons: just enough seats to form Her Majesty's Official Opposition.

Following the Quebec secession referendum of 1995, Bouchard stepped down from the leadership of the party to lead the Bloc's Quebec provincial soul mate, the Parti Québécois. The leadership of the party was assumed by Michel Gauthier for just over a year. The party's current leader, Gilles Duceppe, assumed the leadership of the party on March 15, 1997 .

In the federal general election of 1997, the BQ under Duceppe won only 44 seats, losing its Opposition status to the Alberta-based Reform Party of Canada (led by Preston Manning, son of longstanding former Alberta Premier Ernest Manning, whose Social Credit Party of Alberta remained in power there for decades). In the federal general election of 2000, still under Duceppe, the party won fewer seats again: 38. Since that time, several of those seats have been lost in federal by-elections. Some BQ MPs have announced that they do not intend to seek the nomination for the 2004 general election.

Given the party's reason for being, one would expect the BQ's popularity to continue to dwindle as Quebec's interest in secession fades. However, the fact of the matter is that, apart from the BQ, the Liberal Party in Quebec currently has no formidable competitor. Thus, until another party takes considerable root in the provinces, BQ candidates can be expected to continue filling the vacuum left when voters decide not to re-elect Liberal MPs in that province.


Page Last updated: Thursday, May 27, 2004  








Freedom Party

Freedom Party

Freedom Party

Freedom Party