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Then-Bloc Québécois candidate Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe stands in front of his campaign van during the October election.Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press

The quickest way to describe Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe is to point out he is the son of Gilles Duceppe, the former Bloc Québécois leader who was one of the country’s best-known federal politicians in the 1990s and 2000s.

But the rookie Bloc MP for Lac-Saint-Jean makes sure to point out that the first half of his last name refers to his mother, Yolande Brunelle, who is a former teacher, school principal and trustee.

“It’s really important, the Brunelle part. My mother comes from a very modest family and she did very well in life … She is an example of perseverance and willpower,” Mr. Brunelle-Duceppe said in an interview. “When people say I’m where I’m at because of my father, I reply they are only 50-per-cent right.”

The 40-year-old is part of a small group of MPs who share a political lineage with one of their parents, including NDP MP Lindsay Mathyssen, Liberal MP Geoff Regan, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Conservative MP Mark Strahl. Having a famous parent can be a blessing in politics, in which name recognition is often an asset, but it also creates expectations that can be hard to meet.

In the case of Mr. Brunelle-Duceppe, his election with a margin of more than 10,000 votes in Lac-Saint-Jean on Oct. 21 was a key example of the Bloc’s return to force on the federal stage after an eight-year slump.

He won in a riding north of Quebec City that had been in Conservative or Liberal hands since 2007. With an economy focused on natural resources and the aluminum industry, Lac-Saint-Jean was reclaimed by the Bloc as part of a near-sweep of the small and medium-sized cities outside of Montreal and Quebec City in the fall ballot.

While Mr. Duceppe was used to leading the Bloc to victory in a majority of seats in Quebec from 1997 to 2008, the party was reduced to a four-seat rump in 2011 and failed once again to achieve official party status in 2015 with a haul of 10 seats. In those two elections, he ran and lost.

Mr. Brunelle-Duceppe, now with his own seat in the House of Commons, represents one of the Bloc’s best hopes to solidify its claim as the party that is most suited to representing Quebec’s interests in Ottawa.

Mr. Brunelle-Duceppe stands out in the 32-member Bloc caucus because of his name. Not only was his father a politician, but his grandfather, Jean Duceppe, was a legendary Quebec actor.

Still, after a long career as a technician, screenwriter and director in the film industry, Mr. Brunelle-Duceppe makes it clear he feels he is ready for politics. He had been active in the union and sovereigntist movements in recent years and decided to run even when the Bloc was still low in public-opinion polls.

“At the supper table, we didn’t talk about hockey, we talked about politics. We weren’t always in agreement, so I learned early on to debate and argue,” he said. “I saw my dad change his mind at times and that helped me to understand the need to be less partisan in politics, to recognize other points of view.”

While he is his party’s critic for international development, Mr. Brunelle-Duceppe’s first chance to shine has come amid concerns that the aluminum industry is being sacrificed in the renegotiations of NAFTA with the U.S. and Mexican governments.

There is a large smelter in his riding, in Alma, and Mr. Brunelle-Duceppe argues it doesn’t matter if Quebec Premier François Legault believes that over all, the new NAFTA is worth supporting. The Bloc has announced it will vote against the deal unless the aluminum industry benefits from the same treatment as the steel industry.

“People often ask questions about whether there is a need for the Bloc. I think we have quickly shown that we are credible and that we are willing to stand up when called upon,” he said.

His electoral victory illustrated the role of both his parents in his life. Mr. Duceppe, who is now a political analyst, went to Lac-Saint-Jean for short campaigning stints, passing on secrets of the trade along the way. During a stop at Chez Gréco restaurant in Roberval, Mr. Duceppe suggested that his son should refrain from introducing himself to diners.

“I told him, ‘It’s Sunday night, don’t interrupt people’s evening, let’s wait and see how they react,’ ” Mr. Duceppe recounted. “All the tables came up to see us as they left. It was a good omen.”

Ms. Brunelle, meanwhile, spent more than two weeks in the riding helping her son, his spouse Mylène and their three children during a hectic period of the campaign. In addition, she worked the phones, campaigned in shopping centres and boosted her son’s morale one morning after a public-opinion poll placed him far behind his rivals.

“With his work ethic, he will build his own name. One day, he won’t be Gilles Duceppe’s son, he will be Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe,” she said.

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