Bloc Québécois to retain at least 32 seats as Quebec electoral map goes largely unchanged
Leader says parliamentarians must quickly put election aside and work together
Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet is projected by CBC News to retain his seat in Beloeil–Chambly, as the party is poised to return a nearly identical number of MPs to Parliament.
The Bloc is currently projected to win in 32 ridings in Quebec and is leading in another two. The party had 32 seats in the House of Commons when Parliament was dissolved in August.
The projected figures will keep the Bloc as Parliament's third-place party, with the NDP on track to finish fourth with 25 seats.
If the Bloc holds on to the two ridings in which it is currently leading and finishes with 34 seats, it will have the distinction of earning the biggest jump in seats of any party in an election that had few surprises or movement.
In an early morning speech at his campaign headquarters, Blanchet said parliamentarians must quickly put the election aside and find a way to work together.
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The next Parliament "will have to last an acceptable amount of time," Blanchet said. "That is clearly what Quebecers and Canadians have said they want to see."
He highlighted Canada's continued handling of the pandemic and the climate crisis.
"Collaboration and co-operation is a must and we will fully participate," he added. "Why? Because we are still in a pandemic."
The Bloc is leading in most of the off-island ridings in the Montreal suburbs that were being targeted by the Liberals during this campaign.
The Bloc's Louis Plamondon, who was first elected in 1984 and is Parliament's longest-serving MP, is also projected to win another election in his riding of Bécancour–Nicolet–Saurel.
WATCH | Next Parliament must work together, Blanchet says:
The dream of 40 seats fizzles out
Blanchet had said in the early days of the campaign that he had a dream of winning win 40 seats, a majority of the 78 electoral districts in Quebec, though he stopped emphasizing that figure in the closing days of the campaign.
"Forty would be great, anything over 32 would be a nice evening," Blanchet said on Sunday.
The Bloc was buoyed by an apparent boost in the polls after a controversial question at the English-language leaders' debate about Quebec legislation on secularism and a proposed bill on language-protection.
Blanchet went on to suggest he views the "right to be a Quebecer" as the election's ballot question.
"The right to be different, the right to have a different economic model in Quebec … I think Quebecers have a vision for a positive future that's quite different than other regions that are a part of Canada," he said.
Blanchet rarely discussed the possibility of Quebec sovereignty during the election campaign, though he did have a light-hearted moment chatting about the future of Quebec on live television in French.
Appearing as a guest on Quebec talk show La Semaine des 4 Julie with host Julie Snyder last Wednesday, Blanchet was surprised when Snyder also produced his daughter Catherine Dupont on stage.
Dupont, a model, admitted she has political ambitions when Snyder asked, saying she wants to run for the left-of-centre Québec Solidaire sovereignist party provincially.
"It won't be provincial," Blanchet corrected from his seat, adding Quebec will be an independent country by then.
"Yes, I'll be prime minister," Dupont said, laughing, as they toasted with glasses of scotch.