'Nobody is afraid of the Bloc' - Macleans.ca

‘Nobody is afraid of the Bloc’


On his way out of town, Real Menard reflects on life in Ottawa.

“In 1993, the relationship between the Bloc and the other parties was more difficult,” says Ménard. “There were suspicions, and people didn’t really understand what the Bloc was, and we didn’t have a very friendly relationship at this time.”

With a referendum only two years later, tensions were high — something that has since cooled considerably.

“I think that now nobody is afraid of the Bloc,” he says. “People respect what we have done, people respect democracy, people vote for us. We are in the first polling position in Quebec, but this is not the same climate. It’s more comfortable, it’s more agreeable to work [in].”


‘Nobody is afraid of the Bloc’

  1. After the 1993 election, the 54 (mostly new) Bloc members and the 52 new Reform members had to share the Opposition Lobby, which wasn't really built for 2 caucuses of close in size but miles apart on everything else (i.e. no dividing walls).

    'Not a very friendly relationship' is one heck of an understatement when describing that scene.

  2. That's a fascinating scene.

    • Now I have this mental image of Deb Grey and Suzanne Tremblay bearing down on the same prune danish….

      • Ha! It was almost like that, although to be honest those two were among the most congenial members. (I was a page in 96-97, which is why I got to see some of this stuff).

        Speaking of the grub, they would serve a food around lunchtime in the lobbies for all members. One of the funniest incidents was "traditional Quebecois cuisine day," which included a number of concoctions Reformers had never seen. The looks on their faces were priceless. It turns out that the meal actually sparked some conversations between the camps, and probably did more for national unity than any number of Sheila Copps's free flags ever could.

        • Ya, I imagine a Reformer's first exposure to Cretons would cause recoil!

          Sounds like you had an interesting time. Lucky.

          • I hope there was also a western cuisine day, with prairie oysters.

          • I think there was, but I don't remember oysters specifically.

            The ten-gallon hats and bolo ties, though, were constant reminders that the West was In.