11/18/2014 03:44 EST | Updated 01/18/2015 05:59 EST

Pierre Karl Peladeau Says Bloc Quebecois Is Still 'Quite Relevant'

QUEBEC - A few days after brushing off the Bloc Quebecois as insignificant, Pierre Karl Peladeau now says the sovereigntist party's presence in Ottawa is in fact "quite relevant."

But the man considered to be the candidate to beat if he seeks the Parti Quebecois leadership also said he has a right to question the Bloc's future.

Peladeau recently told young PQ supporters in his Saint-Jerome riding that the Bloc "serves strictly no purpose" other than "to justify federalism."

The once-mighty Bloc now has two MPs and has been hit hard by dissension since Mario Beaulieu's election as leader earlier this year.

Questioned by reporters at the PQ's weekly caucus meeting Tuesday, Peladeau described the Bloc as pertinent but raised questions nevertheless about its future.

"The question is to determine whether we're fighting federalism or working with it." he said Tuesday. "Sovereigntist forces should fight it together."

Bloc Leader Mario Beaulieu accepted Peladeau's change of position on Tuesday, without asking many questions.

He told reporters in Montreal he spoke to Peladeau on the weekend and told him the two parties share the goal of defending Quebec's interests and promoting Quebec independence.

"The Bloc Quebecois has always been able to count on the Parti Quebecois and the Parti Quebecois has always been able to count on the Bloc Quebecois," Beaulieu said.

"Our parties belong to Quebec's big pro-independence family."

Peladeau is expected to declare his PQ candidacy this coming Sunday and is widely considered to become the immediate front-runner.

Beaulieu also said the Bloc would not get involved in the PQ leadership race and, regardless what choice its members make, "the Bloc is going to continue to work with the Parti Quebecois, its leader and the organization."

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