Profile: Canadian Bloc Quebecois Party leader Gilles Duceppe
A Quebec separatist in Ottawa, Gilles Duceppe will always be in opposition and leads a party which only runs candidates in the province of Quebec. A good debater, Gilles Duceppe is focused, has bull-dog tendencies, occasionally flashes an extremely dry sense of humour, and always keeps a tight control on his caucus.
He was born July 22, 1947 in Montreal, Quebec and achieved a baccalaureate of collegiate studies from College Mont-Saint-Louis.
He has a wife, Yolande Brunelle, and two children, Alexis and Amelie.
When Gilles Duceppe was elected to the Canadian House of Commons in 1990, he had to be an independent because the Bloc party had not been registered by Elections Canada as a political Party. His victory this way however, showed that he had electoral support in Quebec and could potentially win elections.
In the 1997 general election, the Bloc lost official opposition status, slipping to third place in the House of Commons behind the Reform Party. Of particular note during the campaign was a visit by Duceppe to a cheese factory where he was photographed wearing a hairnet resembling a shower cap. The photo became widely parodied on Canadian television.
The Bloc's caucus lost more support during the 2000 election, winning just 38 seats. Over this period, critics derided Duceppe as an ineffectual campaigner, though no serious challenge to his leadership emerged.
Duceppe is a very popular politician in Quebec and when Jean Chretien stepped down, Duceppe became the longest running leader of a major Canadian party.
Some famous Gilles Duceppe quotes here.