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The first Bloc Québécois candidate elected to Parliament

Gilles Duceppe's byelection win in the summer of 1990 made him the first MP to be elected as a Bloc Québécois candidate.

Gilles Duceppe received 12,000 more votes than the nearest competitor on the ballot

Gilles Duceppe was the first Bloc Québécois candidate to be elected to Parliament. 0:33

Canadians had only recently learned of the existence of the Bloc Québécois when one of its candidates was elected to Parliament 28 years ago.

On August 13, 1990, Gilles Duceppe won a byelection in the Montreal riding of Laurier—​Sainte Marie.

Gilles Duceppe speaks to supporters after being elected to Parliament as a Bloc Québécois candidate. 0:38

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.

Bloc Québécois Leader Lucien Bouchard sums up the byelection win by Gilles Duceppe. 0:29
 

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.

Bloc leader Lucien Bouchard tries to calm fears - and outrage - in English Canada. 2:46