Farewell then, Claude Patry, MP for Jonquière-Alma, freshly departed to the Bloc Québécois. (You’re gonna need a bigger phone booth for your caucus meetings, guys.) We hardly knew ye. No, no, strike that: We had no idea ye existed. Anyway, best of luck.
Two days after the 2011 election, I wrote this blog post, which now seems oddly prescient (although the full-on catastrophe it describes still resides in the future, or will never happen):
“…In its earliest days the Bloc was made up of people who’d abandoned other parties’ caucuses: Lucien Bouchard and five other Progressive Conservatives, and Jean Lapierre and another Liberal.
“Only two days after Monday’s election, it’s already becoming obvious that the likeliest route to a revival of the Bloc Québécois is some kind of replay of those heady days in 1990. NDP Caucus Services will have its share of challenges over the next little while, but one item on its to-do list should be the preparation of a contingency plan for the bright morning when a dozen or 20 of its Quebec MPs decide Canadian federalism has failed some arbitrary test of its flexibility and it’s time to join the Bloc.”
One MP isn’t a dozen or 20. But the lasting danger for the NDP is the tension between the 57% of its caucus who come from Quebec and the 2/3 of its popular vote that came from outside. It’s possible to mitigate that tension. It’s impossible to eliminate it.