The Pollcast: The Bloc Québécois looks for a leader

The Conservative and the NDP races are taking most of the attention, but they aren't only party leadership contests on the go. The Bloc Québécois is also looking for a leader - and may be looking at a coronation.

Host Éric Grenier is joined by Le Devoir's Marie Vastel and Radio-Canada's Philippe-Vincent Foisy

Martine Ouellet ran unsuccessfully for the Parti Québécois leadership twice in 2015 and 2016. (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press)

The CBC Pollcast, hosted by CBC poll analyst Éric Grenier, explores the world of electoral politics, political polls and the trends they reveal.

The Conservatives and New Democrats have been in the midst of leadership contests for months, but the Bloc Québécois, which kicked off its leadership race at the beginning of February, will reach the finish-line first, on April 22.

Calling it a race, though, might be generous — because it is setting up to be a coronation.

The Bloc has been without a permanent leader since Gilles Duceppe resigned on election night in 2015. There are two candidates officially in the running: Félix Pinel, who ran as a candidate for the party in the last election, and Martine Ouellet, an MNA sitting in Quebec's National Assembly.

Ouellet, who twice ran unsuccessfully for the leadership of the provincial Parti Québécois, left the PQ caucus after making her candidacy official and is sitting as an independent. If she wins the vote — she has the support of most of the Bloc's 10-member caucus — she intends to continue sitting as an MNA in Quebec City until the province holds its next election in October 2018.

Will Ouellet face any serious obstacles in her run for the Bloc Québécois leadership, or is her victory all but assured? How would Ouellet balance being a federal party leader and a provincial legislator at the same time?

And after two elections in which the once dominant Bloc has seen its support slide to less than 20 per cent in the province, does the party still have relevance in Quebec's federal political scene — or a future, with support for sovereignty at new lows?

To discuss the race and the future of the Bloc, Pollcast host Éric Grenier is joined by Radio-Canada's Philippe-Vincent Foisy and Le Devoir's Marie Vastel.

Listen to the full discussion above — or subscribe to the CBC Pollcast and listen to past episodes.

Follow Éric Grenier, Philippe-Vincent Foisy and Marie Vastel on Twitter.


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