April 29, 2014 10:14 am

Head of St. Jean-Baptiste Society wants to lead Bloc Quebecois

Mario Beaulieu, president du Comite de la Fete National a Montreal, talking about the 175th edition of La Fete de la St. Jean Baptiste, that is celebrated in Quebec.

Mario Beauregard/The Canadian Press

MONTREAL – The president of a pro-independence nationalist group in Quebec said that he is joining the race to become leader of the Bloc Quebecois.

Mario Beaulieu, head of the St. Jean-Baptiste Society, said he’s running because the only other candidate to declare so far isn’t serious enough about sovereignty.

Beaulieu said that Bloc MP Andre Bellevance wants the party to be just an “advocate” for Quebec in Ottawa when it should strive for independence.

The Bloc was reduced to just four seats in the House of Commons in the 2011 election from the 49 seats it held after the 2008 vote.

Beaulieu said by focusing on independence, the party can increase the number of MPs after the 2015 election.

The Bloc Quebecois will select a new leader in late May in Rimouski to replace Daniel Paille, who stepped down last December due to health reasons.

© The Canadian Press, 2014

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