More than 20 ex-Bloc Quebecois MPs call on Martine Ouellet to quit in open letter

MONTREAL — More than 20 former Bloc Quebecois MPs called on party leader Martine Ouellet to step down Friday, in a letter published in a Montreal newspaper accusing her of being intransigent and weakening Quebec’s voice in Ottawa.

Meanwhile, the Bloc’s national office will hold a meeting Saturday to discuss the fate of seven of the party’s 10 MPs who quit the caucus earlier in the week, citing Ouellet’s poor leadership style.

The letter, co-signed by ex-Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe, says Quebec’s status is feeble within the Canadian federation, with a pro-Canada premier in Quebec City and an “intransigent” and divisive Bloc leader in Ottawa.

“We understand how seven MPs left the party,” reads the letter published in Le Devoir. “Martine Ouellet weakens Quebec’s voice in Ottawa at a time when it needs a strong voice.

“She divides sovereignists at the moment when they need to be united. She has to go.”

Ouellet, who doesn’t have a seat in the House of Commons but sits as an Independent in Quebec’s provincial legislature, has signalled she will not go.

A source in the Bloc told The Canadian Press Ouellet’s hand remains extended to the seven departing members and she is ready to welcome them back to the party.

The source said it’s unclear if the 12 members of the party’s national bureau will take a final decision on whether to expel the seven dissident MPs and revoke their memberships on Saturday or whether talks will continue after that time.

A spokesperson for the Bloc said Ouellet wouldn’t react publicly to Friday’s letter before Saturday’s meeting.

The defections of 70 per cent of the party’s caucus reflect an internal struggle in the party that has been going on for some time.

Party insiders say the tension is between those who aggressively want to pursue Quebec independence by bringing it up at every occasion, versus those who want to focus on files concerning Quebec’s interests in Ottawa.

Just Posted

Tens of thousands across the US march for gun control

WASHINGTON — Summoned by student survivors of the Florida school shooting, tens… Continue reading

Canyon Ski Resort season wraps up Sunday

Central Alberta skiers and snowboarders only have a couple more days to… Continue reading

Future space crunch is feared, as no new schools for Red Deer are in the budget

Only local modernization will be at Father Lacombe Catholic School in Lacombe

A million dollars for Red Deer hospital is not nearly enough, says Mayor Veer

Mayor is concerned Red Deer hospital is still not on province’s five-year capital list

No drug treatment centre, or additional shelter beds for Red Deer

But Red Deer will get more affordable housing and sustained capital funding

WATCH: Hundreds come to Red Deer Rebels Fan Fest

The Red Deer Rebels met with legions of their of fans just… Continue reading

Supreme Court rules former Stephen Harper aide guilty of influence peddling

OTTAWA — Canada’s highest court has upheld an influence peddling conviction against… Continue reading

2 killed, dozen hurt in French supermarket hostage-taking

PARIS — An armed man took hostages in a supermarket in southern… Continue reading

READER PHOTO: Red Deer students celebrate Canadian courage at Juno Beach

Teenagers from Red Deer’s Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School are learning about… Continue reading

UN report: Loss of plants, animals making a lonelier planet

WASHINGTON — New United Nations scientific reports diagnose that Earth is getting… Continue reading

Excavator frees dolphins trapped by pack ice in Newfoundland harbour

HEARTS DELIGHT, N.L. — A pod of dolphins trapped by pack ice… Continue reading

Structure fire destroys home in Mirror

A house in Mirror is completely damaged due to an overnight structure… Continue reading

Trudeau warns senators not to thwart will of Canadians on marijuana bill

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is reminding senators that his government… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month