|Resistance Leader Gilles Duceppe|
The sad truth is that almost all Bloc members hate their jobs, including Gilles Duceppe, who not so secretly aspires to the job of Premier of Quebec.
He caused somewhat of a stir by comparing his separatist movement to the famous "Resistance," which battled the Nazi occupation of France during World War Two.
Hearing of the comparison, Federal Minister Lawrence Cannon blew a gasket and complained that Duceppe had insulted Canada, when in fact, the real crime was to compare the Bloc pantywaists with those that bravely fought and died battling a murderous enemy.
The convention was highlighted by the keynote speaker, oddball ex-mayor of small town Huntington, Stephane Gendron, who told the audience that while he liked the Bloc, he didn't think he'd vote for sovereignty. Hmm..
Then it was the turn of ex-MP Suzanne Tremblay to wow the crowd by telling them that the Bloc was making an important contribution in Ottawa because by speaking only French in Parliament, it forced the government to hire more interpreters. Wow!
For the majority of the 1,379,628 voters in Quebec who voted for the Bloc Quebecois in the last Federal election, sending separatists to Ottawa is an infantile exercise in tweaking the collective nose of English Canada. Pissing in the soup of federal politics is just about the only thing left for the frustrated sovereignist to do, taking advantage of a split federalist vote to garner 66% of the Quebec seats with about a third of the votes.
I'm mindful of the movie line in FATAL ATTRACTION wherein the jilted lover character played by Glen Close threatens the Michael Douglas character (who is desperately trying to dump her) "I mean, I'm not gonna be ignored"
And ignored they are. A Bloc Member rising in Parliament to speak is a wonderful opportunity for government members to unplug their simultaneous translation earpieces and take a few moments to zone out.
While those who voted for the Bloc rejoice in their collective thumbing of their nose at Canadians and their federal Parliament, few Quebeckers understand how desperately sad and humiliating the presence of these separatists in Ottawa really is.
Short of bringing down the government, which they are fearful of doing, they have no power and no influence. In fact, their presence has the complete opposite effect of what they claim they are doing, defending the interests of Quebec voters and so they sit in Parliament like an unwelcome, nasty and crotchety old grandfather who is roundly ignored at the family dinner table, even when he speaks.
One of the principle reasons that the Bloc has such a high turnover rate is that it is a nasty avocation to go to work each day with co-workers who hate your guts, in a city full of people who loathe your presence.
When opposition parties flirted with the idea of a coalition government that included the Bloc last year, the very concept, so shocked the sensibilities of Canadians that the only other person with a legitimate shot at forming a government on his own, Michael Ignatief of the Liberals, was forced to back down.
It was a good thing for Jack Layton too, because had the coalition gone through, it would have destroyed the political careers of the two leaders.
I have eaten in the Parliamentary cafeteria and have seen the Bloc members sitting alone amongst themselves, like the nerds that populate the loser corner of any high school in Canada.
Big shots in Quebec, Bloc members are nobodies in Ottawa and the reality is difficult for them to digest.
When asked about their accomplishments in Ottawa, the Bloc always answer that they are defending Quebec's interest. But how?
There is nary a piece of legislation that they can lay claim to have been a moving force behind. The amendments that they offer are only on the rarest of occasions incorporated in government policy.
Last week they proposed an amendment to the crime bill which would reverse the policy of letting non-violent first time offenders out on parole after serving only one-sixth of their sentence. A good idea that makes eminently good sense and one with which I'm sure the vast majority of Canadians would agree with.
But because the amendment came from the Bloc, the government didn't even bother considering it for a moment. Had the Liberals or the NDP proposed the same amendment, it would have been surely put on the table for debate.
So all that is left is the pitiful exercise in collective masturbation, the bane of those who cannot do anything in the real world and so are consigned to the world of imagination.
Relieved, re-assured and recharged after their stroke-a-thon convention, the Bloc members return to Parliament to continue with he charade that they are something other than a sad collection of failed separatists advancing a tired and rejected platform.
For me, instead of feeling anger at their insulting presence in Ottawa, I take solace and grim pleasure that everyday is another painful and frustrating day that they must endure in a united and strong Canada, another day taking them farther and farther away from their dream.
It has been twenty long years of a misery and frustration. I wish them many more decades of the same. Suffer on.
It's plain to everyone else that their dream of sovereignty is enduring a slow and lingering death in Quebec and one might ask if the destiny of Bloc members is to live out their retirement back home, in a Quebec firmly rooted in Canada, living out their sunshine years on the avails of their Canadian parliamentary pension.
Think any of them will refuse that pension out of principle?
.....No I don't think so either.