New leader further ignites increasing Quebec nationalism
By Mercedes Deutscher, News Editor
In a landslide victory, the emerging nationalist party Bloc Quebecois (BQ) ousted the Liberal Party and rose to power on November 15 in the Quebec provincial election. Their inaugural leader, Rene Levesque, will become the new Quebec premier.
The BQ won a total of 71 seats, a 65-seat increase from their previous six-seat hold. The Liberals dropped 76 seats to finish with a total of 26.
The Union Nationale gained 11 seats after not having any in the previous session. The victory marks a comeback for the Union Nationale, since the party had been experiencing a decline in support since the Quiet Revolution—the period of increased industrialism in a rural Quebec in the 60s.
Rene Levesque campaigned for the BQ on a platform of Quebec nationalism and sovereignty. A notable campaign promise was the idea of Quebec separating from the rest of Canada and forming its own nation. Levesque has suggested political autonomy for Quebec, while maintaining an economic partnership with Canada. How Levesque will follow through with his promise of a sovereign Quebec remains to be seen.
The victory has both provincial and federal Liberals worried, especially with the building tensions between the people of Quebec and Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, who wishes for Quebec to remain part of Canada.