OTTAWA — The seven mps who have slammed the door of the Bloc québécois in February are not all ready to welcome the federalists in their new party.
“No, and it is a categorical”, has decided the mp Michel Boudrias Tuesday afternoon.
A few hours earlier, the spokesman of the group, Rhéal Fortin, surrounded by his colleagues, had said that the seven defined themselves as “separatist group”, but that their party – which for the moment has no name – was ready to welcome the federalists.
“We are seven pro-independence, said Rhéal Fortin in a press conference. If there are colleagues who are not pro-independence, but who say, “we support you and we want to work with you”, rest assured that we will sit down with them and we will talk and we will find a way to operate.”
The seven ex-bloquistes want to rally Quebecers around a new offer policy. They will launch a consultation tour in order to found a party to defend the interests of Quebec in a year and a half of the next federal election.
“The Bloc québécois that you have experienced and to which we have adhered to it and devoted so much energy there is unfortunately no more,” said Mr. Fortin.
They believe that Quebec is poorly defended in Ottawa, or even overlooked by the other federal parties, and that its interests are sacrificed for votes in the West, in Ontario or in the Maritimes”.
“We want to be the voice of Quebec, the voice of Quebecers without compromise, without compromise”, summarized the deputy Gabriel Ste-Marie.
The seven give themselves the goal to present candidates in 78 electoral districts of Quebec, for the election of 2019.
Reactions to Ottawa
The lieutenant of the conservatives in Quebec, Alain Rayes, was quick to react on social networks.
“While the bloquistes and former bloquistes are chicanent, our party is listening to the Quebecois, he wrote. We are the only party that represents the interests of Quebec and respect the fields of jurisdiction.”
Mr. Rayes was then pointed out that he was in Val-d’or as part of a tour launched by his party there is a little more than a week to woo the vote of the Québécois.
The liberals and new democrats have also defended their balance sheet.
“It is no less Quebecers because it is not for the separation of Quebec”, said the member of parliament Pablo Rodriguez, stating that the elected liberals in the province would “continue to stand up to defend the interests of Quebec.”
“When we defended our proposals on the Quebec, it was quite the leeway to take positions that are in line with the people,” said ndp mp Alexandre Boulerice, citing the work of his colleague Pierre Nantel on the “tax Netflix”.
Towards a new coalition arc-en-ciel?
The seven ex-bloquistes have approached, for the moment, no member of another political party, but say they are open to integrate any interested person by their project.
“Everyone is invited, reported Rhéal Fortin. The bloquistes as the members of the NDP, members of the liberal Party, conservative, whatever, all of the world. People who want to work in the interests of Quebec are welcome with us.”
Déjà vu for the mp Louis Plamondon, who had formed the coalition arc-en-ciel in 1990, Lucien Bouchard, Jean Lapierre and other members the progressive conservatives and liberals after the failure of the Meech Lake Accord. This coalition had finally led to the foundation of the Bloc québécois.
“It is sure that I have a bit of nostalgia because the Block – I often said to myself – it was tattooed on my heart, and then I had participated in its foundation, I know that it was a lot of effort, but I have the impression to leave such a beautiful movement today because in the current state of things, the Block is disembodied. I think it no longer exists neither in the head of the citizens, or in the heads of members now and you will be precisely this new force in Ottawa.”
The Block, still alive?
“I don’t see any judgment of death. It was 20 00 members!”, has responded to the mp bloquiste Marilène Gill.
It is “a pity” that the group of seven attempts to start his own political party so “that there is any place still inside the Bloc” for them.
And if they are trying to recruit activists bloquistes who were dissatisfied with the outcome of the general council Sunday? “I think that the members, because they will have their place, are going to be able to make an informed choice as to whether they want to continue with a party that is decidedly pro-independence credible on the federal scene”, she replied.
Still, the departures are increasing the permanence of the party. The Bloc québécois has lost on Tuesday its director general, Paul Labonne, and its finance director, Sylvain Gauthier. They would be in disagreement with the exit from the crisis adopted by the delegates.
At this general council, some 200 activists have opted in to the proposal to hold a referendum of the members on the mission of the party as a promoter of Quebec independence “in all forums” and a vote of confidence on June 1st and 2nd. The chief Martine Ouellet and the national office thought it would be the best way out of the crisis.
In a disagreement, the vice-president of the party, Kédina Fleury-Samson, also said on Monday that she was resigning from his functions. The member of parliament and chair of the Bloc quebecois, Mario Beaulieu, is a reflection on its political future. The seven deputies indicated Tuesday that he was welcome if he wanted to join them.
The Bloc québécois, which had elected ten members of the House of commons in 2015, had been more than three since the group of seven has slammed the door on February 28. They said they were unable to work with the party leader, Martine Ouellet, blaming him for his intransigence. It did not want to give interview on Tuesday.
In Quebec, the leader of the Parti québécois, Jean-François Lisée, did not want to comment on these new adventures bloquistes.