Bloc Quebecois crisis: Dissidents a hair’s breadth of cutting bridges

The seven dissident MPs were ready to finally cut ties with the Bloc Québécois last week, but they were convinced in extremis by Gilles Duceppe to wait before making the announcement publicly, according to what learned The Canadian Press.

The former leader of the Bloc Quebecois would have persuaded them to wait to know the outcome of the general council to be held Sunday in Drummondville, according to sources close to the party.

About 40 Bloc riding associations will be calling for an early vote of confidence with the support of MPP Mario Beaulieu, formerly a loyal ally of Martine Ouellet.

Their goal is to turn the page on the crisis that is shaking the Bloc Quebecois as quickly as possible so that it can then rally the seven dissident MPs. The 42 constituency associations will therefore suggest that the national office’s referendum proposal be rescinded and that a vote of confidence by universal suffrage take place on May 15.

The Bloc leader and the national office advocate instead a vote of confidence on June 1 and 2, with a referendum on the Bloc Québécois’ mission to promote Quebec’s independence.

“We’re talking about two weeks, frankly,” responded Ms. Ouellet in an interview. It’s not two weeks that will make the difference. Then, the vote has to be well organized. It needs to be well structured to allow everyone to participate. ”

Seven of the ten Bloc Québécois members had slammed the door at the end of February because they could no longer get along with their leader. A crisis caused by a leadership problem, according to dissidents and 42 constituency associations.

Three of these dissidents questioned at the end of Question Period on Friday did not completely close the door to a return to the Bloc Québécois in the event of Martine Ouellet’s departure.

“I certainly want the idea of ​​the Bloc to survive,” said Gabriel Ste-Marie. We need to have a voice here. ”

“We’ll have to study what’s going to happen,” said Monique Pauzé. The seven have always been coordinated and we will continue to do so. ”

MP Michel Boudrias was more categorical. “It’s not a guaranteed guarantee of return for me,” he said, adding that he should think about it.

Martine Ouellet continues to reject the questioning of her leadership. She makes a different reading of the events that led to the crisis. In his opinion, the conflict is due to two different interpretations of the Bloc Québécois’ mission, either as a promoter of independence or rather as a defender of Quebec’s interests on the federal scene.

In a letter to Bloc activists from The Canadian Press, the leader defends the idea of ​​a referendum and accuses dissidents of questioning the party’s “internal democracy” by ignoring article 1 of its program. on the promotion of independence.

“It is therefore essential to agree on the mission of the Bloc Québécois in order to rally all, to gather to row all in the same direction. And what could be stronger than the universal choice of members to do it? “She writes.

“Sadness” and “disappointment”

Martine Ouellet explains the flip side of Mario Beaulieu, who approved this proposal to get out of the crisis with the entire national office.

“I do not understand her change of attitude and her change of course like that along the way, it surprises me a lot,” she said in an interview.

Mario Beaulieu was one of three MPs who sided with Martine Ouellet when the seven MPs slammed the door in February, but then withdrew his support a month later. He recruited her in 2017 to become leader of the Bloc Québécois.

Ms. Ouellet believes that the number of riding associations that would have turned against her is exaggerated and that the reality on the ground is quite different.

“I spoke with several county presidents, with several delegates, and I can tell you that there are really many very strong, very strong supports despite all that people have heard of not true for a month or so,” she argued.

She keeps her head up and says she wants to come “very transparently” to the General Council on Sunday. It is now up to party members to decide on the next scenario.

“The Bloc Québécois has never been so independent and that’s how we will be able to win as many seats as possible in 2019,” she said. Members have a choice to make and I am confident that people will want to make the choice of independence and the Republic of Quebec. ”

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