The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Bloc MP Fortin quits; says the party no longer exists under new leader

  • Print

MONTREAL - The Bloc Quebecois caucus was reduced to three members on Tuesday when MP Jean-Francois Fortin quit the party, accusing its new leader of being divisive and radical.

Fortin, 40, will sit as an Independent until the 2015 federal election.

"The Bloc Quebecois in which I believed, which we believed, no longer exists," he said in a statement.

"The arrival of new leader Mario Beaulieu, who is pushing a one-dimensional, unrigorous and uncompromising approach, has put an end to the credibility established by Gilles Duceppe and continued by Daniel Paille, two leaders who deserved great respect."

After a summer of reflection, Fortin said he believes his constituents would be better served if he completed his mandate outside the party, which will now have only three MPs.

Beaulieu has made no bones about focusing on the promotion of sovereignty — an approach that differs from that of his predecessors.

Beaulieu, who is on a provincewide tour to drum up support for independence, has accused Duceppe and Paille of having a defeatist attitude with regard to sovereignty.

The party leader downplayed Fortin's harsh criticism, suggesting the MP showed disloyalty to the party and the sovereigntist cause.

"He (Fortin) lacked loyalty and transparency," Beaulieu told a news conference. "He never accepted the democratic decision of Bloc Quebecois members."

Beaulieu went further, saying Fortin had a "hidden agenda" and had planned to form a new party. Beaulieu said party officials intercepted an email about one month ago outlining such a plan.

The leader said Fortin's departure comes after numerous discussions, including one on Monday. There was no mention of him quitting the party, Beaulieu said.

Beaulieu said Fortin's actions, just a year away from a federal election, amount to "jumping ship and torpedoing the independentist cause."

Fortin has represented Haute-Gaspesie-La Mitis-Matane-Matapedia since 2011. A political scientist and former municipal politician, he did not indicate if he would seek re-election next year.

Fortin says Beaulieu has radicalized the party with his dogmatic approach.

"It is not by rejecting those who seem less 'pure' and abandoning the rigour which has always characterized the Bloc in favour of repeating old...formulas that he will convince Quebecers to follow him," Fortin said.

"This is not the way to serve Quebecers or advance sovereignty. In behaving this way, Mr. Beaulieu is dividing sovereigntists instead of uniting them."

Beaulieu flatly denied the notion of division within the party, insisting that everyone else in the Bloc family is on the same page.

His departure leaves leadership runner-up Andre Bellavance, Claude Patry and Louis Plamondon as the party's only MPs.

The Bloc has been in turmoil since its staggering defeat at the polls in 2011, when it was reduced to four seats from 47.

Fortin ran for the party leadership in 2011 and lost to Paille.

The runner-up in that race, Maria Mourani, was expelled from the Bloc caucus in September 2013 by Paille for criticizing the Parti Quebecois's now-defunct proposed charter of values.

She has since been sitting as an Independent and has denounced sovereignty.

Paille quit as leader in December 2013 because of health reasons, with Beaulieu replacing him this past June.

— With files from Stephanie Marin in Ottawa

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Museum will create a conversation: Stuart Murray

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A red squirrel peaks out of the shade in a tree in East Fort Garry, Sunday, September 9, 2012. (TREVOR HAGAN/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A Canada goose protects her nest full of eggs Monday on campus at the University of Manitoba- Standup photo- Apr 30, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you think volunteers dragging the Red River is a good idea?

View Results

Ads by Google