In today’s National Post, my friend Adam Daifallah speculates about the future of the Bloc Quebecois should its leader Gilles Duceppe decide to resign in the near future.
Without its charismatic leader, argues Daifallah, the Bloc would lose its relevance and “the federal political dynamic would be redrawn in Quebec and the door would be thrown wide open for the Harper Conservatives to stage a comeback.”
Maybe he’s right.
But then again many predicted the Bloc would fall apart when its first charismatic leader, Lucien Bouchard, stepped down back in 1996.
In fact, people have been writing the Bloc’s political obituary for years and yet the party stubbornly keeps on ticking, winning enough seats election after election to maintain itself as a force in federal politics.
And it achieves this success without even offering the possibility of ever winning power.
What’s the Bloc’s secret?
Well, I am certainly not an expert in the murky world of Quebec politics, but it seems to me the Bloc succeeds because it alone among the major federal parties reflects the modern Quebecois political mindset.
The fact is many Quebecois simply don’t see themselves as “Canadian” and hence they have no emotional connection to either the Liberals or Conservatives.
The Bloc, on the other hand, not only offers them the emotionally satisfying vision of an independent Quebec, but it speaks for them culturally like no other federal party ever could.
To be blunt, comparatively speaking the Liberals, Conservatives and NDP are led by outsiders.
That’s why I don’t think Duceppe’s departure would change this political dynamic.
With or without his leadership, the Bloc will be around for a long time.
Update: Adam Daifallah responds to my commentary