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Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe and his wife Yolande Brunelle atriding headquarters Sunday, May 1, 2011 (Jacques Boissinot/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe and his wife Yolande Brunelle atriding headquarters Sunday, May 1, 2011 (Jacques Boissinot/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

For the Bloc, a rare feeling of fear Add to ...

The Bloc Québécois is finishing the campaign with a rare feeling of fear.

The NDP wave in Quebec threatens to take over long-held sovereigntist strongholds, leading Bloc organizers to push party supporters to "prove the polls wrong."

Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe always spends the last day of his campaign in his riding of Laurier-Ste-Marie, in a progressive part of Montreal Island, but he acknowledged this election is unlike any other since he came to Ottawa in 1990.

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"Harder? I've seen some hard ones, let me tell you," Mr. Duceppe said at a news conference after a speech in his election headquarters. "Whether this one is different? Yes, I can't pretend otherwise. The way the forces at play are aligned today is different than it has been in the past."

He has refused to speak about poll results throughout the campaign, but added to comments from his top organizer in his riding, Jean-Luc Thibault, who suggested the party faces a tough slog Monday.

"When we say that we have to prove the polls wrong, it's throughout Quebec. When we talk about the ridings in Quebec, it's always been my policy to take nothing for granted, otherwise I'd be showing contempt for electors," Mr. Duceppe said.

The Bloc leader refused to talk about his party's campaign, or even muse about the status of his leadership, until the polls close.

"Notwithstanding your question, I'll do a post-mortem later on," he told a reporter.

Still, he acknowledged he is always "nervous" at election time until the final results come in.

The NDP has supplanted the Bloc in all recent public opinion surveys in Quebec, with a clear lead in Montreal. If the results hold up Monday, the province's electoral map will be radically redrawn.

The Bloc currently holds 47 of 75 ridings in Quebec, but seat projections suggest the NDP could end up in first position in the province for the first time ever. The Bloc has won a majority of seats in every election in Quebec since 1993.

As such, Mr. Duceppe continued attacking the NDP for running unilingual Anglophone candidates in Quebec, particularly in ridings with large French-speaking populations.

The issue has struck a nerve with Bloc supporters, but it is too early to tell if it will allow the Bloc to win tight races in some of its fortresses.

"The Québécois nation has been recognized, it has a national language, which is French," Mr. Duceppe said. "How could we accept putting our confidence in people who don't even speak our language?"

The last day of the Bloc campaign is designed to pump up organizers and get supporters into the voting booths Monday.

"We will fight until the end to get out the vote, to show that we need men and women [in the House of Commons]who are proud, who have roots in their ridings, who speak our language," Mr. Duceppe said.

Mr. Duceppe was participating Sunday afternoon in a workers' day parade in Montreal, before heading up to rallies in the Laurentians (Rivière-des-Mille-Îles) and Laval (Marc-Aurèle Fortin).

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