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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 10:45 am    Post subject: Yves Francois Blanchet new Bloc Quebecois leader Reply with quote

( the BQ has quietly selected a new leader as no one else filed out the required paperwork or bothered to enter the race )

Yves-Francois Blanchet named new leader of Bloc Quebecois

CTV Montreal
Published Thursday, January 17, 2019 10:25AM EST

The Bloc Quebecois has once again dipped into the ranks of the Parti Quebecois to choose a new leader.

Former PQ minister Yves-François Blanchet was acclaimed as leader of the Bloc overnight as the only person to have submitted a valid nomination.

Only one other person, engineer Jean-Jacques Nantel, asked for a nomination ballot, but he did not submit his paperwork by the deadline of midnight Wednesday.

Blanchet, 53, was first elected to the National Assembly in 2008, and served as Environment Minister in the short-lived Pauline Marois government from December 2012 to April 2014.

Since 2014 he has worked as a political commentator for a French-language public affairs television program.

When Blanchet filed his candidacy in December nine of the Bloc's ten MPs said they supported Blanchet.

The party has gone through many leaders in the past four years when Gilles Duceppe resigned after losing his seat.

Its most recent leader, Martine Ouellet, was acclaimed in March 2017 but was never elected to the House of Commons. During her time as leader seven MPs quit the party over arguments about her leadership style and the emphasis she put on sovereignty.

Ouellet was then rejected by two-thirds of party's membership in a vote conducted in June 2018, and she resigned a few days later.


Joined: 02 Mar 2009
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 10:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yves-François Blanchet becomes Bloc Québécois leader

Blanchet, who succeeds Martine Ouellet, was the only declared candidate in the race

CBC News · Posted: Jan 17, 2019 5:49 AM ET | Last Updated: January 17

Yves-Francois Blanchet makes an announcement on the leadership race of the Bloc Quebecois in the Foyer of the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Nov. 26, 2018. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

Former Parti Québécois minister Yves-François Blanchet has been named the new leader of the Bloc Québécois.

Blanchet succeeds Martine Ouellet, who resigned in June of last year following a split in the party and the departure of seven Bloc MPs.

Blanchet submitted his candidature in November and became the only declared candidate in the race.

"At the end of the nomination period, I received only one submission that met all the criteria prescribed by the Bloc Québécois's leadership race rule, so I declare Mr. Yves-François Blanchet leader," Pierre Bouchard, the party's election officer, wrote in a brief statement sent overnight.

The Bloc Quebecois has struggled since the 2011 election, which saw the party drop to just four seats. The party won ten seats in the last federal election.

Blanchet, 53, was Environment Minister under PQ premier Pauline Marois from December 2012 to April 2014.

Stints in Quebec show biz

After that, Blanchet was a commentator on Radio-Canada's afternoon TV show Les Ex, which analyzes social, political and economic issues.

Before entering politics, Blanchet worked in entertainment, including as the manager of famous Quebec rocker Éric Lapointe. He was also president of Quebec's association for music, shows and film (ADISQ).

In a text published on the party's website about his vision, Blanchet wrote that he was a candidate who would "tirelessly" promote Quebec independence in order to "win Quebec and win for Quebec."

Also according to the website, the only other person who tried to join the race was Jean-Jacques Nantel, an engineer whose submission did not fit the party criteria.

Christian Hébert, who ran for the PQ in the October provincial election, had also announced his intention to run, but it's unclear whether he pulled out of the race or if he too did not meet the criteria. Hébert finished fourth in the Quebec City-area riding of Portneuf.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 10:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ex-PQ minister Yves-François Blanchet acclaimed as Bloc Québécois leader

Leadership election committee chair Pierre Bouchard made the announcement after the deadline for candidacies expired at midnight.

Presse Canadienne
Updated: January 17, 2019

Former Parti Québécois cabinet minister Yves-François Blanchet has been acclaimed as leader of the Bloc Québécois after no other valid candidacy was presented.

Leadership election committee chair Pierre Bouchard made the announcement after the deadline for candidacies expired at midnight.

Blanchet, 53, was environment minister in the government of Pauline Marois from December 2012 to April 2014. He then was a contributor to a televised public affairs program before announcing his candidacy to lead the Bloc last Nov. 26.

The Bloc has been in search of a leader since the tumultuous resignation last June of Martine Ouellet following an internal crisis that saw seven of the party’s MPs leave the party.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 10:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

New Bloc leader, same Bloc problems

Yves-François Blanchet takes over a Quebec party in desperate need of a boost

Éric Grenier · CBC News · Posted: Jan 18, 2019 4:00 AM ET | Last Updated: January 18

Yves-François Blanchet was acclaimed as the Bloc Québécois's new leader on Wednesday. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)


The Bloc Québécois has a new leader, but Yves-François Blanchet will face the same problems that have plagued the Bloc ever since its disastrous 2011 campaign relegated it to the fringes of Quebec federal politics.

You're forgiven if you can't recall the name of the person Blanchet replaced as leader of the Bloc. Since that 2011 defeat, the leadership of the party has been a revolving door, as Gilles Duceppe returned in 2015 and Mario Beaulieu has held the position on two non-consecutive occasions.

Blanchet was acclaimed as the latest leader of the Bloc on Wednesday after no one else met the party's conditions for standing as a candidate. The vacancy followed the resignation of Martine Ouellet last spring, after her abrasive leadership style split the sovereignist party.

Blanchet didn't win the job by default — his candidacy was welcomed and encouraged by the Bloc's reunited caucus. A former cabinet minister and TV pundit, he brings a higher profile as well as his communication skills and media savvy to a party in desperate need of a boost.

Steep hill to climb for a stumbling Bloc

Blanchet takes over a party that has yet to recover from Ouellet's tenure. The Bloc stands at 14.5 per cent support in Quebec according to the CBC's Poll Tracker, an aggregation of all publicly available polling data. That puts the party down nearly five points from its 2015 election result.

The Bloc has polled between 13 and 16 per cent since October, and hasn't topped 18 per cent in the Poll Tracker since the end of 2017.

The party stands in a near-tie for third place with the New Democrats in the province. The Conservatives are narrowly ahead with 18 per cent, while the Liberals tower over their opposition with 42.7 per cent support.

According to the Poll Tracker, the Liberals are favoured in 63 seats due to their wide lead over their rivals, while the Conservatives' concentration of support in some regions of the province puts them in a position to be favoured in 14 seats. The Bloc is favoured in no seats, though it is in contention in as many as 10 — its current standing in the House of Commons.

Narrow path to a return to relevance

Outgoing interim leader Beaulieu has said the Bloc's minimum objective in October's federal election would be to obtain official party status, which requires 12 seats. Blanchet recently told Le Nouvelliste newspaper that he thinks the chances of the party winning at least 20 seats are good.

That will require a shift in voting intentions, but not necessarily an enormous one. According to the Poll Tracker projection model, the Bloc would be favoured to win at least a dozen seats with a gain of seven points in the polls, drawn equally from the Liberals, NDP and Conservatives. That would mean scoring around 21 to 22 per cent — still worse than the party's 2011 performance.

To have a good chance of more than 20 seats, however, the Bloc would need to gain around 10 points. There are few indications that the party is on the cusp of any such surge.

Still, it is something the Liberals need to worry about. The party is counting on significant seat gains in Quebec to offset losses in other regions of the country — it is no coincidence the Liberals are holding their cabinet retreat in Sherbrooke, Que., this week.

If the Bloc is able to win enough seats to give it official party status, these wins will likely come at the expense of the NDP in places the Liberals are banking on for re-election in October.

But how realistic is it that Blanchet could help push the Bloc back into relevance?

Provincial splits, federal competition

Blanchet's pitch to voters — putting a priority on Quebec's interests and environmentalism, in addition to sovereignty — might have broader appeal than the sole focus on independence that Ouellet was pushing.

On environmental issues, the province routinely polls apart from the rest of the country. In a recent Angus Reid Institute survey, Quebec was the only province in which "the lack of new oil pipeline capacity" was not seen as a crisis, more respondents opposed both the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and the Energy East pipeline and a plurality felt that the federal government is "pushing too hard to build more pipeline capacity."

With a credible spokesperson on environmentalism as its leader — Blanchet was an environment minister — the Bloc could make some inroads.

But the recent provincial election in Quebec points to the challenges Blanchet faces. The Parti Québécois was handed its worst result in its history, scoring just 17 per cent of the vote. Québec Solidaire, another sovereignist party, managed 16 per cent support, but the party's voter base is motivated more by left-wing politics than by independence.

Parti Québécois leader Jean-François Lisée led his party to its worst performance in October's provincial election, with just 10 seats and 17 per cent of the vote. (Graham Hughes/Canadian Press)

While combining the support of the PQ and QS would be electorally advantageous for Blanchet, the arithmetic is not as simple as it looks. QS won most of its seats in areas that supported the New Democrats in the last two federal elections, while few of the PQ's holdings overlap with those of the Bloc.

The Bloc's best chances instead appear to be in the suburbs around Montreal, where most of its current seats are located and where it is polling strongest. Blanchet is aware of the Bloc's regional limitations — he has already ruled out running in the riding of Saint-Maurice–Champlain where he lives and which is represented by Liberal cabinet minister François- Philippe Champagne. He says he will probably instead run in the Montérégie region south of Montreal.

The obstacles Blanchet faces are significant — poor fundraising, a membership base split between two warring provincial parties and voters' lack of interest in the Bloc's raison-d'être. The Liberals and Conservatives will also be targeting their efforts and resources in Quebec, competition that the Bloc is ill-equipped to counter.

But if Quebec is going to be one of the key battlegrounds of the 2019 federal election, then Blanchet's impact on the Bloc's fortunes will play a significant role in that fight. Keep an eye on him.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 2:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Blanchet offers the same charisma that Duceppe did, however with far more media savvy.
The most important quality that he has is that he has buy in from the MPs within the party which is something that the BQ leader hasn't really had since Duceppe V1.0.

He also likely runs in the Montérégie region which the BQ routinely won the majority of seats in prior to 2011 and is a "safer" region if you are looking to snag a seat from the Liberals or NDP.

As to if his leadership and party direction is enough to make the BQ a factor again?
Who knows.
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Yves Francois Blanchet new Bloc Quebecois leader

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