Former PQ minister Yves-Francois Blanchet acclaimed as Bloc Quebecois leader

Former PQ minister Yves-Francois Blanchet acclaimed as Bloc Quebecois leader

MONTREAL — The Bloc Quebecois will vote only in Quebec's interests without regard for the rest of the country, Yves-Francois Blanchet vowed Thursday on his first day as leader of the struggling federal party.

The former Parti Quebecois minister was declared leader when he was the only person to meet the candidacy requirements by the deadline for entry Wednesday at midnight, the Bloc Quebecois announced.

"When we vote, it's only for Quebec's interests," Blanchet said in a phone interview. "There is no consideration for Alberta oil or Toronto finance."

Blanchet, 53, served as environment minister under Pauline Marois between 2012 and 2014 and subsequently was a regular on a public affairs TV show.

He previously worked in the music world, where he managed Quebec singer Eric Lapointe and served as president of a provincial music industry association.

Blanchet issued a statement on the party's website promising to tirelessly promote Quebec independence and to "win Quebec and win for Quebec."

The Bloc Quebecois has been leaderless since June, when former leader Martine Ouellet stepped down after a tumultuous reign that saw seven of the party's 10 MPs resign from caucus. All seven have since returned.

Blanchet said he is eyeing the region southeast of Montreal to seek a seat when the federal election campaign gets underway later this year.

The Canadian Press