The Pollcast: Can the Bloc bounce back?

On the latest episode of the Pollcast, Interim Bloc Québécois leader Mario Beaulieu joins host Éric Grenier to discuss the party's plans for the 2019 federal election. Plus, Radio-Canada's Philippe-Vincent Foisy breaks down the Bloc's upcoming leadership race.

This week: Interim Bloc Québécois Leader Mario Beaulieu on the future of the party

A man is standing.
Interim Bloc Québécois Leader Mario Beaulieu. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

Now preparing to pick its fifth leader since it was dealt a historic defeat in the 2011 federal election, the Bloc Québécois is hoping it can bounce back in the 2019 federal election.

That leader will be chosen in February — but will it be enough to help the sovereignist party return to the dominance of Quebec's federal political scene it enjoyed in the 1990s and 2000s?

The Bloc has had a tumultuous few years. After the 2011 federal election and the resignation of its long-time leader, Gilles Duceppe, the Bloc turned to Daniel Paillé to take over the party. He resigned in 2013 due to health reasons. A year later, Mario Beaulieu took over.

With the party moribund in the polls and hoping for better results, Beaulieu invited Duceppe to return to lead the party into the 2015 federal election campaign. While the Bloc won 10 seats — six more than they had won in 2011 — the party's share of the vote in Quebec fell to just 19.3 per cent. Duceppe was not one of the 10 Bloc MPs sent to Ottawa, and the party was on the hunt for another leader.

That leader was former provincial cabinet minister Martine Ouellet, who proposed to put more emphasis on Quebec independence. Her abrasive leadership style, however, divided caucus and seven MPs split off to form a party of their own. Faced with the internal revolt, Ouellet lost a confidence vote among members and resigned in June. Beaulieu came back as interim leader and the seven dissident MPs returned to the fold.

And now the party is looking for its next standard bearer.

On this week's episode of the Pollcast, host Éric Grenier is joined by Beaulieu to discuss the next steps for the party, where it can win in 2019 and what issues will determine the outcome of the election in Quebec.

Then, Radio-Canada's Philippe-Vincent Foisy breaks down the Bloc's leadership race and where the party fits into Quebec's political landscape.

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

This is the latest in a series of discussions with federal party leaders about the 2019 federal election. Listen to the interviews with People's Party Leader Maxime Bernier here and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May here.