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How did the Bloc Québécois come into existence?

The coalition was made up of Conservative and Liberal MPs who quit their parties after the death of the Meech Lake Accord on June 23, 1990, and banded together in the House of Commons.

Where does Mr. Duceppe fit in?

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He was the first person to be elected as a member of the group in a by-election on Aug. 13, 1990. The Bloc was officially created the following year, with Lucien Bouchard as leader until 1997.

The Bloc was supposed to be a temporary political force; why does it still exist?

The Parti Québécois government failed to win a referendum on Quebec sovereignty in 1995, but the Bloc insists it must continue to promote sovereignty and defend Quebec's interests and values in Ottawa.

What have been some of the Bloc's biggest victories?

The party takes partial or total credit for the Harper government's move to address the "fiscal imbalance" between Ottawa and cash-strapped provinces, the recognition of the Québécois as a nation and the previous Liberal government's opposition to the war in Iraq.

Is Mr. Duceppe close to retirement?

The 63-year-old will run in the next election, and has spoken of staying on at least into his 70s. For now, he will take in a corn roast in a park in his Montreal-area riding on Saturday, and attend a gala on Sunday, to celebrate his two decades in Ottawa.

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About the Author
Parliamentary reporter

Daniel Leblanc studied political science at the University of Ottawa and journalism at Carleton University. He became a full-time reporter in 1998, first at the Ottawa Citizen and then in the Ottawa bureau of The Globe and Mail. More

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