We continue our look at the five major political parties in Canada. Today our focus shifts to the Eastern portion of Central Canada and a party that has the potential to lose a lot of ground, as the major battles in this election are taking place right on its door step.
Current Leader: Gilles Duceppe
Leader's Riding: Laurier - Sainte Marie
Seats at Dissolution: 48
Major Issues: Quebec Sovereignty, Left-Wing Nationalist, Remaining Relevant
In my travels, I have frequently entered into political conversations with people from all over the world. Whenever I try to explain Canadian politics, and our myriad of parties, I always struggle explaining the Bloc Quebecois. People from other countries have difficulty understanding a party that runs in only one province, but is still consistently one of the top parties in the country (including one stint as official opposition).
This failure to comprehend the relevance of the Bloc appears to be Gilles Duceppe's biggest problem, as this mindset seems to be creeping its way into Quebec. With the sponsorship scandal raging, the Bloc were expected to make huge gains in the 2006 election, however they ended up losing three seats, after the Conservatives made huge strides in Quebec.
With the Gomery Inquiry being little more than a memory in Quebec, it seems like the Liberals may be able to rebound in the province. Also the NDP are making noise about competing with the Bloc for the Left Wing vote.
However, the biggest threat to the Bloc are definetly the Conservatives. They made a huge break through in Quebec for the first time in decades in 2006, and remain poised to do even more. Harper has been making a huge push towards Right Wing Seperatists, which are growing in numbers in the wake of the ADQ's success in the last provincial election.
Like Jack Layton, Gilles Duceppe has to be worried about this election. Back in May 2007, Duceppe resigned as the leader of the Bloc in order to run for the leadership of the Parti Quebecois, only to change his mind the next day, when it became obvious that he would have legitimate competition for it. It appears that even Duceppe himself sees the BQ ship sinking, and he at least tried to get off.
This is also his fifth election as the leader of the party. During his first two elections he saw his support dwindle, losing Official Opposition status, his next two saw the support rebound, but mostly as a result of the Sponsorship Scandal. He knows that not only is his job in question, but so is his legacy, and there do not seem to be too many people in line to take it from him.
The Bloc's all-time low for seats was 38 in the 2000 election, and I would not be at all surprised if they will be around, or below that number in a few weeks. Duceppe is getting pushed from the Left, pushed from the Right, and pushed from inside of himself, he's bound to have a rough October.
Until next time,
Part I - The Green Party of Canada - September 9, 2008
Part II - The NDP - September 15, 2008
Part III - The Bloc Quebecois - September 16, 2008
Part IV - The Liberal Party of Canada - September 19, 2008
Part V - The Conservative Party of Canada - September 21, 2008