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Yves-François Blanchet to seek Bloc Québécois leadership

Yves-François Blanchet makes an announcement on the leadership race of the Bloc Québécois in the Foyer of the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Nov. 26, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang.
Yves-François Blanchet makes an announcement on the leadership race of the Bloc Québécois in the Foyer of the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Nov. 26, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang. Justin Tang/The Canadian Press

Former Parti Québécois cabinet minister Yves-François Blanchet announced Monday he will run for the vacant Bloc Québécois leadership.

Speaking in the foyer of the House of Common, Blanchet said the Bloc is still needed to represent the Quebec sovereigntist movement while the PQ is in opposition in the provincial legislature.

READ MORE: Bloc Québécois to rebuild and may even look for a new name

“I think we have to recognize that the sovereigntist movement is not in its best glory years,” he said.

He said the movement needs to end the “magical thinking” that just because sovereigntists think their project is good, the people of Quebec are automatically going to agree.

“The demonstration has to be made,” he said.

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So far, at least five of the 10 Bloc caucus members have confirmed their support for Blanchet’s leadership bid.

A well-known political commentator on Radio-Canada in recent years, he was first elected provincially in 2008 and served as environment minister in Pauline Marois’ short-lived minority PQ government between 2012 and 2014.

WATCH: Bloc Québécois loses 7 MPs

Ouellet’s leadership style causes 7 Bloc Quebecois MPs to quit party
Ouellet’s leadership style causes 7 Bloc Quebecois MPs to quit party

Blanchet was critical of former Bloc leader Martine Ouellet during her tumultuous run as party leader. Interim Bloc leader Mario Beaulieu has been attempting to bridge the factions within the party for the past eight months.

The leadership race officially begins Dec. 14 with the new leader to be chosen Feb. 24.