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Tweets show Bloc on offensive as NDP leads polls in Quebec

Bloc Qu�b�cois Leader Gilles Duceppe speaks on the phone to a Bloc supporter during a May 2nd federal election campaign stop in Montreal, Saturday, April 23, 2011.

Graham Hughes/ The Canadian Press/Graham Hughes/ The Canadian Press

Any doubt the Bloc Québécois is playing panicked defence can be put to rest.

The Bloc is spending Easter weekend desperately shoring up its base, appealing to hard line nationalists who appear to be losing enthusiasm for the party under Gilles Duceppe.

Under Mr. Duceppe's name, the Bloc fired off a hostile tweet early Saturday proclaiming the election a fight between "Canadians and Quebeckers."

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Mr. Duceppe's camp took down the tweet and replaced it with another saying the fight is actually "between the parties of the Canadian majority and Quebec."

The original may have just been a gaffe by a staffer, but combined the tweets left little doubt that Mr. Duceppe has abandoned one of his usual roles as a parking place for the votes of disgruntled Quebec francophone federalists.

The Bloc is also bringing the legendary hard line sovereigntist leader, Jacques Parizeau, out of his semi retirement for a campaign event on Monday. It's another sure sign the Bloc is trying to bolster it's base, the 30 per cent of Quebec eligible voters who consistently maintain support for sovereignty.

Mr. Duceppe has long maintained the sovereignty movement is not anti-Canadian. On the campaign, he has taken pains to mention Canada is a "great country." It's just not his country, he says.

The moves toward a more hard line appeal came as NDP Leader Jack Layton hosted an event at a packed Olympia Theatre in Mr. Duceppe's riding.

It's the same theatre where Mr. Duceppe got his local campaign off to a lukewarm start.

A series of polls have shown the NDP ahead of the Bloc in Quebec - a stunning development that, if it holds, could turn the electoral map upside down.

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About the Author
National correspondent

Les Perreaux joined the Montreal bureau of the Globe and Mail in 2008. He previously worked for the Canadian Press covering national and international affairs, including federal and Quebec politics and the war in Afghanistan. More

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