The Bloc Québécois unveils its electoral platform, stressing Quebec identity, environment

·2 min read
Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet speaks to reporters during a federal election campaign stop in Longueuil, Que., on Aug. 20, 2021. Canadians will go to the polls on Sept. 20.  (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet speaks to reporters during a federal election campaign stop in Longueuil, Que., on Aug. 20, 2021. Canadians will go to the polls on Sept. 20. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press - image credit)

The Bloc Québécois outlined its platform for the 2021 federal election in Saint-Hyacinthe, Que. on Sunday.

The platform is based on 30 measures, including plans to increase health funding, replace the Indian Act and create a "green equalization" program to reward the provinces that fight effectively against climate change.

"Quebec has, I believe, reconciled with the Bloc," said Bloc Québecois Leader Yves-François Blanchet.

With 32 Bloc MPs elected in the last election in 2019, Blanchet said he thinks his party managed to effectively make "Quebec's voice" heard.

"I think we have forced all parties to respect us," Blanchet said.

The party hopes to hold the balance of power after the upcoming election to advance issues in areas such as Quebec sovereignty, the environment and the economy.

One of the Bloc's key priorities is increasing health transfers so the federal government would cover 35 per cent of provincial health care costs.

Blanchet said his party also wants to ensure that the government's spending plan includes support for people aged 65- 75 years old, so they may "enjoy a retirement worthy of the efforts they made throughout their lives to their family, their community and their nation."

Quebec identity

Among the proposals concerning Quebec identity, the Bloc platform pledges:

  • To make sufficient knowledge of French a condition for obtaining Canadian citizenship in Quebec.

  • To make not public investments in legal challenges to Quebec laws such as the province's secularism law.

  • To create a Quebec organization to replace the CRTC because "one shouldn't entrust one's culture to a neighbouring nation."

  • To allow Quebec to sign international treaties.

  • To replace the Indian Act imposed 150 years ago with a set of negotiated nation-to-nation treaties.

Taking questions from reporters, Blanchet did not explain why the word "independence" couldn't be found anywhere in the 17-page platform.

He said there had been no recent changes to the National Assembly of Quebec and "we cannot invent a context."

Tax on wealth

The electoral platform also puts forward a tax on wealth and a three per cent tax on digital giants.

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Rewards for provinces that fight climate change

The environment also makes up a large part of the Bloc's platform, which calls for the introduction of a "green equalization" program to reward those provinces that fight effectively against climate change.

The Bloc, which is calling for an end to fossil fuel subsidies, is also calling for an investigation into the links between Health Canada and multinationals manufacturing pesticides.

"Favouring the environment does not mean impoverishing yourself — it's creating more wealth in a different way," Blanchet said.

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