Friday, August 26, 2011

Replacing Gilles Duceppe

Stripped of its status as an official party in the House of Commons, the Bloc Québécois is still smarting from the electoral pasting it received on May 2 that has left the sovereigntist party leaderless and its future in limbo.

Still, the Bloc will be the first of the three opposition parties to hold a leadership convention. Unless the date is put off — and some influential figures in the Bloc Québécois argue it should be — the Bloc will name its next leader in December.

There may not be many candidates.

You can read the rest of the article on The Huffington Post Canada website.

The future of the Bloc Québécois is interesting. Four years is a long time. On the one hand, it is a very long time for the Bloc to keep itself in the public eye, and between now and the next election the Parti Québécois could be handed a catastrophic defeat at the provincial level. On the other hand, it gives the Bloc a lot of time to prepare for 2015, work out a new angle, and hope for something to happen either within the NDP Quebec caucus or at the provincial level.

The Bloc still has a niche. Though it has been robbed of its role as a voice for social democracy in Quebec, it is still the only party that can speak for Quebec's interests and Quebec's interests only. It is also the only federal vehicle for sovereigntists in the province. At worst, they are still likely to garner 15% of the vote or so, at best they can still push 30% if the New Democrats remain a force in the province.

And something like that amount of support in Quebec might be enough to get them back into official party status. The New Democrats beat the Bloc by margins of ten points or less in six ridings (actually, it is astounding that it is only six ridings). Undoubtedly, constituents in many parts of Quebec will be very happy with their new, rookie NDP MPs and they will have a very good chance of being re-elected if things don't turn badly for the party. But in other ridings, these rookie NDP MPs might not live up to expectations and if the Bloc manages to keep itself at 1 in 4 support or so, they would have a good chance of winning at least 12 seats in the province.

That is, if they are still a factor. The next four years will be determinant for the Bloc, and the leader they choose will play a huge role in deciding whether the Bloc is swept from the province for good in 2015 or if it returns to the House of Commons with some influence. It is perhaps understandable that few high profile candidates are stepping forward to take on such a difficult, and potentially career-ending job.