The Bloc Quebecois targets tech giants as it hopes to bounce back after disastrous few years
The last few years have not been kind to the Bloc Quebecois but the party is hoping to bounce back with victories in both ridings it used to hold and some new territory.
On Saturday the Bloc took on a populist message, promising to tax tech giants Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple, as well as Netflix, saying such a tax would generate hundreds of millions of dollars. The party promised to put 40 per cent of revenue from that tax towards French-language art and culture.
The announcement was made outside Melrose Studio in the Longueuil-St-Hubert riding. The Bloc last won that riding in 2008 but lost to then-NDP member Pierre Nantel in 2011. Nantel currently sits as an independent after being kicked out of the NDP caucus but is running for re-election as a member of the Green Party. Nantel caused controversy earlier this month when he said Quebec should achieve independence “as fast as possible.”
Bloc candidate Denis Trudel ran against Nantel in 2015 and said voters can’t believe candidates who often change their minds and they can trust him to always be committed to sovereignty. The remark was aimed not just at Nantel but the riding’s Liberal candidate, Rejean Hebert, who served as Quebec’s health minister under former premier Pauline Marois.
According to the latest projections by 338canada.com Longueuil-St-Hubert currently leans Liberal with 32 per cent support, with the Bloc in second at 26 per cent.
In 2015 the Bloc won 10 seats. While an improvement over the four it won in 2011, it’s a far cry from the high of 54 it won in 1993 and 2004. Several Bloc MPs temporarily left the party under the reign of former leader Martine Ouellet, who was forced to resign last year after losing a confidence vote.
Yves-Francois Blanchard was named the party’s new leader in January.