Montreal

Gilles Duceppe confident he can persuade voters to back Bloc Québécois

Despite trailing in the polls, the leader of Bloc Québécois insists morale remains high inside the party.

'There are still 6 weeks left in the campaign,' Duceppe says

Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe waves to supporters as he and his wife Yolande Brunelle arrive for a general council meeting on Monday. (Graham Hughes/Canadian Press)

Gilles Duceppe says there's still lots of time left to persuade voters to support the Bloc Québécois before the Oct. 19 federal election.

Despite trailing in the polls, the Bloc leader insists morale remains high inside the party.

"There are still six weeks left in the campaign," he told reporters on Monday.

"That's longer than the usual campaign, so I'm confident that we'll be able to convince people."

Duceppe was in Montreal on Monday for his party's general council meeting, where members are expected to adopt their electoral platform and campaign finances behind closed doors.

The Bloc will also unveil its official campaign slogan and will decide on the visual elements to appear on candidates' campaign posters.

Duceppe is set to open his campaign office Monday evening in Laurier—Sainte-Marie, the riding he represented for nearly 20 years before losing his seat to the NDP's Hélè​ne Laverdière four years ago.

The NDP nearly swept the province in 2011, winning 58 of Quebec's 75 seats and reducing the Bloc to a meagre four from their previous 47.

Christian Bourque, executive vice-president and senior partner at Léger Marketing, said the Bloc continues to struggle in the polls this time around, and the campaign so far hasn't played to the party's strengths.

"There's always a segment of the electorate that wants to vote for a sovereignist party even federally, to send that statement,"  he said.

"However, in this campaign, which started out and is still sort of a referendum on the Conservative regime, in particular, is the kind of race in which the Bloc doesn't stand a chance."

Bourque said the Bloc's best chance is to focus on pockets of support in ridings such as Abitibi-Témiscamingue and Verchères-Les Patriotes, both of which were held by the party before the NDP took them over.

Duceppe has also said he's open to supporting a coalition with either the NDP or Liberals.

On Sunday, he told CBC News Network's Power & Politics there's one party he refuses to consider aligning with, should October's election result in a minority government.

"I'm always open, but no blank cheque and certainly not with Stephen Harper," Duceppe said.

With files from The Canadian Press

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