Montreal Gazette

`What's the point of the Bloc?'

- THOMAS LABERGE

Stung by repeated questionin­g in the National Assembly from Parti Québécois Leader Paul St-pierre Plamondon over the issue of temporary immigratio­n, Premier François Legault on Tuesday suddenly questioned the usefulness of the sovereignt­ist Bloc Québécois in Ottawa.

“What's the point of the Bloc Québécois in Ottawa? What's its purpose? What's its point?” Legault replied to the PQ leader.

Legault's questions came in response to St-pierre Plamondon's accusation that the premier had done nothing on the issue of temporary immigratio­n in Quebec.

“Will the premier recognize that the CAQ'S immigratio­n policy is a disaster in terms of French, which is unpreceden­ted in the history of Quebec,” asked the PQ leader.

Legault said it was “unfortunat­e” that St-pierre Plamondon was playing “politics with an issue that is crucial to the future of our nation.”

“What I'm asking the head of the Parti Québécois to do is work with me to convince the federal government,” Legault said. “Because the guilty ones here are not the CAQ, but the federal Liberal government.”

At which point the premier added: “Meanwhile, I feel I should ask (the PQ leader), what's the point of the Bloc Québécois in Ottawa?'

Legault's comments came a few hours after four of his cabinet ministers held a press conference to demand that Ottawa reimburse Quebec for the $1 billion it estimates it has spent accommodat­ing asylum seekers.

Soon after, the Bloc Québécois shared a petition on the X social media platform seeking that Ottawa grant Quebec's claims.

During the 2021 federal election, Legault called upon Quebecers to support the federal Conservati­ves, an endorsemen­t he has not repeated since Pierre Poilievre became leader of the Conservati­ve Party of Canada.

“The Bloc Québécois is an independen­ce political party based exclusivel­y in Quebec,” reads the party's website. “Its presence in the House of Commons ensures legitimacy and concordanc­e between the vision of a people and that of their elected representa­tives on the federal scene.

“The Bloc Québécois affirms the existence of the Quebec nation, demands its recognitio­n and defends the interests of its citizens as well as their right to freely choose their future.”

 ?? ?? François Legault
François Legault

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