Martine Ouellet to step down as Bloc Quebecois leader, effective June 11

Ouellet to step down as BQ leader effective June 11

MONTREAL — In a bitter, resentful and defiant speech, Martine Ouellet announced Monday she will step down as head of the Bloc Quebecois in the wake of a crushing defeat in a leadership vote where she collected 32 per cent support.

Ouellet, 49, has been leader since March 2017 and said her resignation will take effect June 11.

She called the Quebec independence movement “sick” and said it is full of internecine warfare.

“My principal conclusion is that the main obstacle to the realization of the republic of Quebec comes from within the sovereigntist movement,” she told reporters. “It’s not normal; the movement is sick.

“If all the energy that was deployed toward small internal fights … was deployed to the realization of the republic of Quebec — I am convinced that today, (independence) would be a done deal.”

The Bloc has been in disarray since late February when seven of its 10 MPs quit over Ouellet’s leadership style.

Of the three who remained, only two still backed her heading into the weekend leadership vote.

The dissenting MPs accused Ouellet of talking about independence at all times instead of working to defend Quebec’s interests within the current parliamentary system.

Ouellet wanted to bring up sovereignty as the answer to all files, despite the fact support for an independent Quebec remains low in the province and has been for years.

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