Canada

Bloc wants Quebec to compete in international hockey

Bloc platform includes a call for Quebec to field its own teams in international hockey and soccer.

Some of the best hockey players in the world come from Quebec, and Gilles Duceppe wants them to play in international competition for the province, not for Canada.

The Bloc Québécois platform released Wednesday contains a plank that says Vincent Lecavalier and Martin Brodeur should suit up for Quebec. The Bloc is calling for Quebec national teams to play in international hockey and soccer tournaments.

"I would like to see the same rules as those applying to Scotland or Wales or Northern Ireland," Bloc Leader Duceppe said while campaigning for the Jan. 23 federal election. "They have their own players in the soccer World Cup or the rugby World Cup.

"If it's possible in Great Britain, it could be possible in Canada."

But Liberal Leader Paul Martin dismissed the idea Thursday.

"You know, it is amazing. Do you hear Mr. Duceppe talking about the environment? Not really. Do you hear him talking about better health care? Not really. What he is talking about is having a hockey team," Martin said.

Duceppe released his 202-page platform at a rally in Montreal.

He talked generally about team building and said his party would elect candidates who reflect Quebec's cultural diversity.

Those candidates include Maka Kotto, the Cameroon-born MP who stunned the Liberals when he won in 2004.

Kotto told the rally that Quebecers are too proud to put up with Liberal contempt.

Duceppe said many questions about the sponsorship scandal remain unanswered, such as where former Liberal organizer Marc-Yvan Côté distributed $120,000 in cash from a Montreal ad firm during the 1997 federal election campaign.

"He took money, I mean it was like a hockey game, eh? It was Brault to Corriveau to Beliveau to Côté, and Côté shoots and scores. We want to know where he scored," Duceppe said.

Côté admitted his involvement to the Gomery commission, and Paul Martin banned him from the Liberal party. But Duceppe says without knowing which ridings and candidates received the money, it's difficult to know which other Liberals were involved.

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