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On coalition, Gilles Duceppe's credibility is questionable

Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe speaks to reporters during a news conference in Montreal on March 29, 2011.


There is something about Canadian elections that makes them deliciously absurd affairs. For only in Canada, in our very healthy open democracy, could the leader of the only major political party dedicated to the break up of our country be seen in the eyes of some as the voice of truth and reason on the past actions of our current federalist Prime Minister. How is it that Gilles Duceppe, the Leader of the Bloc Québécois, is seen as possessing the most authoritative and legitimate account of what happened in 2004 when opposition parties discussed co-operative options for that minority parliament?

Just because Duceppe heads a party whose raison d'etre is separating from Canada doesn't mean he is a de facto propagator of political falsehoods to suit his agenda. All politicians get carried away from time to time with their own interpretations of the truth.

In fact, Duceppe is well regarded by many Quebeckers who don't share his party's goals but see the Bloc as a useful vehicle for advancing the province's immediate economic interests in a united federation. Yet, Duceppe seems happy to live by a bit of a double standard: He leads a party whose mandate is separation but his actual success comes from taking advantage of everything a united federation has to offer. In this case, that includes an apparent generosity of spirit among many for his political rhetoric.

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In 2004 when then-opposition leader Stephen Harper, NDP Leader Jack Layton and Duceppe had a press conference to discuss their letter to the Governor-General, the Bloc Leader was quoted as saying: "In no way are we a coalition and we won't be a coalition." So why in the eyes of some is his current memory of what happened in 2004 more valid than what he actually said at the time?

Duceppe doesn't need any additional motivation to develop a contemporary narrative that has no bearing on what actually happened in 2004. Maintaining his stranglehold on Quebec in 2011 is best advanced by calling Stephen Harper a liar, whether it is true or not. The Bloc's own longevity has been based on these shape-shifting abilities - particularly, and thankfully, as Quebeckers seem less interested in sovereignty.

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