The mid-1990s were an exciting time to be a pro-sovereignty Quebec politician.
The Parti Québécois had a majority government. An agonizingly close referendum took Quebec to the brink of independence. The Official Opposition in Ottawa was Lucien Bouchard's Bloc Québécois — a federal party committed to the sovereignty of Quebec and the breakup of Canada.
For a party that was once synonymous with popular, charismatic leaders like Bouchard and Duceppe, the Bloc has seemed adrift for the past six years. It has had six full-time and interim leaders since the 2011 election.
We'll be really good neighbours, but sharing the same fridge is not a great thing for us and the rest of Canada. We'd rather have our own place. - Martine OuelletForty-seven-year-old Martine Ouellet stepped into the void last month, becoming acclaimed as the new BQ leader … a job that had no other willing and eligible takers.
But while the BQ appears to many to be a spent force in Canadian politics — and even in Quebec politics — Ouellet insists the BQ "is not a dinosaur, it's a phoenix."
Martine Ouellet is a mother of two and a mechanical engineer by training, earning her degree at McGill University. She was first elected to Quebec's National Assembly in 2010 as a member of the Parti Quebecois and would become the PQ's Minister of Natural Resources in 2012. She currently sits as an independent in the National Assembly.
She spoke to guest host David Gutnick from Montreal.
Click 'listen' above to hear David Gutnick's interview with Martine Ouellet.
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