POLITICS
09/17/2018 09:44 EDT | Updated 09/17/2018 15:38 EDT

5 Former Bloc Quebecois MPs Who Quit Caucus To Return To Party Fold

The party had been in turmoil since February.

Bloc Quebecois MP Louis Plamondon announces he is quitting the party caucus in Ottawa on Feb.28, 2018.
CP
Bloc Quebecois MP Louis Plamondon announces he is quitting the party caucus in Ottawa on Feb.28, 2018.

OTTAWA — The Bloc is back.

The final holdouts from the Bloc Quebecois rejoined the sovereigntist party Monday as Parliament resumed from its summer recess.

All 10 of the Bloc MPs elected in 2015 are now back in the fold after leadership turmoil split them apart earlier this year.

Earlier:

"Are we better off serving Quebec united or divided?," asked interim Bloc leader Mario Beaulieu, accompanied by most of the returning cast at an Ottawa news conference. "To ask the question is to answer it."

Members met in Ottawa late Sunday to hammer out the details.

The sovereigntist party had been in turmoil since February, when seven of its members quit over the leadership of then-leader Martine Ouellet.

Bloc MPs were unhappy with Ouellet frequently talking about independence as opposed to concentrating on how to defend Quebec's interests within the current Parliamentary system.

They were also critical of her leadership style and accused her of being intransigent.

Holdouts formed own party

Ouellet stepped down in June after garnering the support of just 32 per cent of members during a leadership vote.

Two of the dissidents, Michel Boudrias and Simon Marcil, returned to the party shortly after her departure and the final five followed Monday.

Since August, the party had embarked on a mission to bring back the remaining members, forming an executive that included those who were in favour of Ouellet's leadership and those who were opposed.

Beaulieu spent the last month working behind the scenes to rally the five holdouts, who'd formed a new party, Quebec debout.

Longtime Bloc MP Louis Plamondon, the dean of the House with 34 years of uninterrupted service, said the atmosphere within the party had changed recently.

"The situation is completely different," said Plamondon, who helped found the Bloc. "There is a desire to work together that we did not feel at all a few months ago."

Plamondon said he was repeatedly told in his riding there shouldn't be two Quebec sovereigntist parties at the federal level.