Inside Politics

Add another name to the list of Independent MPs

As our Radio Canada colleagues first reported, it appears the already teensy-tiny Bloc Quebecois caucus is now one MP smaller, thanks to today's expulsion of one of their most experienced members: Ahuntsic MP Maria Mourani, who has been kicked out of the party's parliamentary clubhouse for voicing her opposition to the Parti Quebecois-proposed values charter.

UPDATE: For more on what led to today's distinctly non-amiable parting of the ways between Mourani and her now former caucus, click here

For those keeping track, that brings the total number of free-range MPs in the 41st Parliament to 3, as Mourani joins Brent Rathgeber and Bruce Hyer -- former members of the Conservative and New Democrat caucuses, respectively -- at the very back of the Commons.

She'll now have to compete with her four former Bloc colleagues, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May and her newly fellow independents to catch the speaker's eye during the closing moments of Question Period, which is when he usually recognizes a non-aligned member.

On the plus side, at least she won't have to give up a seat at committee, since she never had one in the first place. 

Although Bloc Quebecois MPs are allowed to informally style themselves as such, even before Mourani's ejection, their numbers fell far short of the 12 members required for official party status in the House, which means no committee seats and no additional research budget. 

(It's worth noting that the Bloc caucus was able to boost its initial post-2011 election roster from 4 to 5 when then-New Democrat Claude Patry crossed the floor earlier this year.)  

In any case, welcome to the Independent Caucus, Madame Mourani! 

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