Gilles Duceppe to return as Bloc Quebecois leader: source

Gilles Duceppe is returning as leader of the Bloc Quebecois, a source said Tuesday.

MONTREAL — Gilles Duceppe is returning as leader of the Bloc Quebecois, a source said Tuesday.

The source told The Canadian Press that Mario Beaulieu, the current leader, will remain as party president.

The Bloc has called a news conference for Wednesday morning in Montreal that Duceppe and Beaulieu are both scheduled to attend.

A Bloc statement regarding the event said the two men would not comment Tuesday in order to respect the memory of former Quebec premier Jacques Parizeau, whose funeral was to be held in Montreal in the afternoon.

Duceppe, 67, was an MP for 21 years and served as Bloc leader between 1997 and 2011, when the party was nearly wiped out at the federal election.

Currently, the Bloc has only two MPs out of 75 in Quebec and has been rife with division since Beaulieu’s election as leader in 2014.

The Bloc won just four seats in the 2011 election as Jack Layton’s NDP roared through the province. The casualties included Duceppe, who lost the Montreal riding he had held since winning a byelection in 1990.

Duceppe’s return could result in the Pierre Karl Peladeau-led Parti Quebecois increasing its support to the Bloc during this fall’s election campaign.

The Bloc was founded in 1991 and ran a full slate of candidates in the 1993 election, winning 54 out of the 75 seats under Lucien Bouchard.

Duceppe became leader in 1997, a job he held until the 2011 meltdown.

Beaulieu, a hardline sovereigntist who was previously head of the Societe Saint-Jean-Baptiste of Montreal, said on his Facebook account Monday that Duceppe had accepted an offer to work alongside him during the election campaign.

The two men had a falling-out in 2014 after Beaulieu said it was time to put an end to what he called 20 years of go-slow approach to sovereignty.

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