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Bloc Québécois

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A federal party in Canada devoted to separating Quebec from the rest of the country, the Bloc Québécois was started in 1990 as a splinter of the Progressive Conservative Party then in power under Brian Mulroney. In 1993 the Bloc became the official opposition in Canada's parliament under the leadership of Lucien Bouchard but in a 1995 referendum Quebec narrowly (50.5%) chose to remain in Canada.

Bouchard then switched to provincial politics, winning the 1998 Quebec election at the helm of the separatist Parti Québécois. The Bloc's leadership was briefly held by the Michel Gauthier and was then passed to Gilles Duceppe in 1997. Duceppe is still leader of the Bloc. Eclipsed as official opposition and with support for Quebec secession in decline, not to mention the recent defeat of the Parti Québécois in the 2003 general elections, it remains to be seen whether the Bloc has any future in the House of Commons.

References: CBC Backgrounder (http://cbc.ca/news/indepth/background/blocquebecois)

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