The first Bloc Québécois candidate elected to Parliament
Gilles Duceppe received 12,000 more votes than the nearest competitor on the ballot
Canadians had only recently learned of the existence of the Bloc Québécois when one of its candidates was elected to Parliament 29 years ago.
On August 13, 1990, Gilles Duceppe won a byelection in the Montreal riding of Laurier—Sainte Marie.
The result was not close, with Duceppe taking two-thirds of the vote in the byelection contest.
The runner-up, Liberal candidate Denis Coderre — a future MP and future mayor of Montreal — drew 12,000 fewer votes. An NDP candidate placed third and a Progressive Conservative candidate placed fourth.
With his substantial victory at the polls, Duceppe became the first Bloc candidate to be elected to Parliament.
'Reaffirm its voice'
Less than three weeks before, Lucien Bouchard and six other MPs held a press conference to announce their intention to serve as the voice for a sovereign Quebec. The Bloc was not then an official party.
When Duceppe won the byelection, Bouchard said his victory was a sign that Quebec had decided "to wake up ... and reaffirm its voice," as Paul Workman reported on The National.
Three years after the byelection, the Bloc would form the Official Opposition in Parliament, with Bouchard at the helm and Duceppe serving as the party's whip.