Toronto Star

25 years later, Bloc continues fighting for Quebec’s sake

Only party to prioritize province’s interests in Ottawa, original MP Plamondon says


MONTREAL— It’s been 25 years since Lucien Bouchard created the Bloc Québécois on July 25,1990, following the failure of the Meech Lake Accord.

Liberal and Conservati­ve members united to form the new party, which dedicated itself to defending Quebec’s interests in Ottawa.

Long-serving MP Louis Plamondon is among those who have been there since the beginning, when he quit the Progressiv­e Conservati­ve party to join the fledgling Bloc. He has served as the member for Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour since 1984.

He believes the failure of the Meech Lake Accord left Quebec nationalis­ts with two choices: “be crushed within the federalist system or take the path of sovereignt­y.”

Plamondon said he did not expect the party to exist 25 years after its creation. He says the party had counted on a victory in the 1995 sovereignt­y referendum, which the “No” side won by a razor-thin margin.

The members “had to change their minds,” he said, and decided to continue to fight in Ottawa until there is a winning referendum.

“Above all, we couldn’t give up our seats and leave them to those who made us lose the referendum,” he said.

Plamondon said the Bloc remains the only party that prioritize­s Quebec’s interests in Ottawa, “where the interests of Canada always take priority.”

As for the future of the Bloc Québécois: “It’s promising,” Plamondon said. He believes the return of Gilles Duceppe as leader could allow the party to win between 25 and 30 ridings in the next general election, set for October.

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