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Canada Former Quebec premier Landry gives support to Bloc leader Ouellet

Former Quebec premier Bernard Landry publicly lent his support Wednesday to the embattled leader of the Bloc Quebecois who is fighting to keep her job after losing 70 per cent of her caucus.

Bloc leader Martine Ouellet has strong convictions and is very motivated by the idea of Quebec sovereignty, Landry said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

“This has been a turbulent time for her,” said Landry, who was Quebec premier between 2003-05. “She remained solid in her convictions regarding the reason both the Bloc and the Parti Quebecois exist – for independence.”

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Ouellet has been on the defensive ever since seven of the Bloc’s 10 MPs quit in late February because of disagreements over her leadership style and political objectives.

Since then, Ouellet has agreed to a confidence vote by the Bloc’s 20,000 members, but sparked more controversy after she stated she will remain as leader as long as she receives support of 50 per cent plus one.

A confidence vote was only scheduled for 2019, but Ouellet bowed to pressure and agreed to advance the vote, which is now scheduled for early June.

Landry shocked his supporters when he resigned as PQ leader in 2005 after he received only 76 per cent support at a party convention.

The former premier, however, said 50 per cent plus one is enough for Ouellet to stay in her job as head of the federal party.

“The circumstances are different – it’s not the same thing,” he said. “For me, when I was there, there were discussions, criticisms, which is completely normal and I had nothing against it. But one needs to take the numbers in the context of the circumstances.”

Bloc Quebecois members will vote in June on two issues: Ouellet’s leadership as well as what the party’s vision should be.

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Voting will take place by telephone or internet on June 1 and 2, with members finding out the results June 3.

Details of the voting process and the questions that will be put to members are to be confirmed at a party convention April 29.

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