Yves-Francois Blanchet, the leader of the Bloc Quebecois in Parliament, is making private commitments to political operatives in Montreal that could have national implications for the Canadian confederation. The Bloc, founded to advance Quebec’s nationhood, has refrained from running candidates in federal ridings outside of the Province.
Sources say that Blanchet is preparing to change that — and is promising his political lieutenants that the Bloc will run candidates in at least five ridings in New Brunswick that have significant French-speaking populations. There are five coastal ridings where the French-speaking population is greater than 20% of the population, which can be enough to win an evenly divided five-way contest.
“It’s not that consequential in terms of votes in Parliament, but it does make a profound statement about Quebec’s aspirations for nationhood,” one French-Canadian observer explains. “It suggests that an eventual sovereign Quebec Nation will include those French-speaking communities that are located in New Brunswick, and dare I suggest Ontario.”
Observers suspect that could inspire French-Canadian populism and drive voters to the polls, presumably benefiting Bloc candidates running inside Quebec — a scenario that would be likely to deprive Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of a majority government.