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With Bloc Quebecois caucus in turmoil, leader Martine Ouellet seeks end to crisis

OTTAWA — Bloc Quebecois Leader Martine Ouellet is extending a hand to seven dissident caucus members in an attempt to end a party crisis.

The 10 current Bloc MPs and their embattled leader are scheduled to meet today to resolve the impasse.

The party caucus is divided into two camps: those who support Ouellet as leader and the seven who accuse her of being intransigent and authoritarian.

It could be a crucial gathering as a source close to the party says some of those unhappy are ready to leave.

Ouellet and her advisers worked late into the evening Tuesday to prepare a proposal to be submitted to caucus today.

The current crisis, the second in the party since last June, was sparked by the resignation of Gabriel Ste-Marie as house leader over differences with Ouellet.

His abrupt departure came one week after a speech by Ouellet at a Bloc meeting that was poorly received by caucus members.

Ouellet said she'd been a victim of leaks and felt resistance to her leadership.

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