If the Bloc Québécois has not been having an existential crisis, then it's long overdue for one.
Le Journal de Montréal reported Monday that at an emotional caucus meeting before Easter, some Bloc MPs said with distress and chagrin that their party had forgotten its purpose. With Parti Québécois leader Pauline Marois shelving the idea of a third sovereignty referendum, some MPs reportedly complained, the Bloc's only remaining role is to make federalism work better.
Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe and others quickly, flatly denied that any such comments had been made.
We'll accept that, but we regret it. The Bloc should be asking itself what it's good for. Quebecers should be asking that, too. There is no good answer to that question.
Sovereignty, if it ever happens, will arrive through the deliberate choice of a majority of Quebecers, expressed without ambiguity, and then through negotiations between the Quebec government and Ottawa.
But the Bloc, unique among parties in Parliament, has no hope - literally, has no hope - of forming a government. For decades Bloc MPs have cluttered up Parliament Hill, speaking incessantly of "the best interests of Quebecers" but instead working for the sovereignty movement, which is not at all the same thing.
The Bloc started as a sudden rejection, by the emotional Lucien Bouchard and others, of federalism. It briefly dominated federal politics in francophone Quebec. But now, again, a Canada-wide party is showing Quebecers that being part of the government works just fine.
And so the Bloc finds itself with no role except amassing nice pensions for its MPs. It is now well past time for the Bloc to get out of the way and let Canadian political parties strengthen their Quebec representation. That would be the true best interest of Quebecers.