The Bloc Québécois has elected a new leader named Mario Beaulieu, a development which shouldn’t go undiscussed in the Canadian media. Now before I start, I must disclose my bias: Mr Beaulieu isn’t a fan of me, nor I of him. As president of the fundamentalist Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste, Beaulieu released a report on “Francophobia” in the media, targeting among others myself and Jackson Doughart as Quebec-bashers based on articles that appeared in the Prince Arthur Herald. In reality, the report was a typo-filled manifesto against any Canadian journalist who dared to criticize Quebec in any manner. Yet the childishness of the SSJB’s shenanigans is what we can expect from the Bloc in the future, as Beaulieu takes the party in a more radical direction.
And it won’t just be federalists who will be alienated by the new leader. The Bloc’s base of Quebec separatists won’t be lured back by Beaulieu’s new direction, especially after shifting their loyalties in 2011. In his first speech as leader, he made remarks that were associated with the rhetoric of the FLQ, the group responsible for bombings in Quebec in the 1960s and the murder and kidnapping of government officials in 1970. If furthering the separatist cause is truly in Beaulieu’s interest, linking himself to the darkest periods in Quebec history is probably not the way to do it.