Queen’s Park Bureau Chief

Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper should not be given the “blank cheque” of a majority government, warns Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe.

In his first campaign foray outside Quebec in five federal elections, Duceppe told a Bay Street audience at the prestigious Economic Club of Toronto today that only he can stop a Tory majority.

“I am too respectful to tell people outside Quebec how to vote in the federal election,” he said to about 100 people, including prominent Canadian writer Margaret Atwood, who sat with him during the luncheon.

“Mr. Harper had fun saying I was coming to grab votes from Torontonians. Of course, I’m not. One thing for sure: nobody can grab seats from Mr. Harper in Toronto. He doesn’t have any!”

Duceppe quickly got to the point of why he was taking his campaign outside Quebec to give a speech predominantly in English to a roomful of people who cannot cast ballots for his party.

“Let’s be clear, this election is about giving or not giving a majority to Stephen Harper,” the sovereigntist leader thundered.

“It is now clear that Quebec is the only place in Canada where it possible to stop Stephen Harper from obtaining a majority.”

On a podium flanked by two Maple Leaf flags (and an Ontario ensign and Quebec’s fleur de lis), Duceppe appealed for “a minority federal government and a maximum of Bloc MPs.”

Read more