Balarama Holness introduces new provincial party: Bloc Montreal

By Brittany Henriques
Posted Jun 10, 2022, 11:45AM EDT.
Last Updated Jun 10, 2022, 11:46AM EDT.

Quebec voters head to the polls October 3 in the next provincial election – and a new party has been added to the mix, Bloc Montreal.
We spoke to party leader and founder Balarama Holness to discuss his vision for Quebec.

The name Bloc Montréal, similar to Bloc Québécois a known separatist party. What was the idea behind the name? Is this hinting to the party's views on Montreal as a unique separate entity within the province?
Absolutely not. So, the Bloc Québécois represents Quebecers interests at the federal level. And right here in Montreal, we want to represent Montrealers interests at the provincial level. Right now, Montrealers feel a huge disconnection between what's happening at the National Assembly and the way legislation is being imposed on us. We can think about Bill 96, Bill 21 so Montrealers want to be the authors of their own destiny. To have people that represent them and fight for them at the National Assembly.
You ran for the Montreal municipal elections with the Mouvement Montréal party founded you, obtained 7 per cent of the votes, no candidates were elected – what makes you think that you'll be able to win the hearts of Quebecers?
In Montreal, there was a huge success because we had about 10 candidates with over 15 per cent of the vote – downtown a Peter-McGill, I got 23 per cent, Projet Montréal got around, I think 36 per cent. So we were very very competitive in many, many boroughs. And I think Montrealers are looking for leadership that has to be resilient. The pandemic required resilience, starting a new political party requires resilience. And I think people were surprised to see my optimism and my leadership say, 'You know what? I'm coming back.' It's not going to be easy. We are going to have very few seats at the National Assembly, but nevertheless, we are going to be fighting for you.
When it comes to your party's vision for Quebec, what issues matter to you and need to be addressed? We have a labor shortage, a serious housing crisis, we're still in a pandemic with COVID-19 and now monkeypox – fears of violence in the province is an important topic. Where are your priorities?
Right now, the city of Montreal has a $6 billion budget. And we mentioned the city of Montreal, this metropolis has a $200 billion GDP. We need to increase the budget for the city of Montreal. Right now, the pandemic has hurt a lot of small businesses. We need to ensure that it's not just the federal government that support small businesses during the pandemic and post-pandemic, but also the provincial government. And that's going to be very, very important.

We want to ensure that whether it's Bill 96, Bill 21, issues of identity and culture, issues of housing, whether it's public security, but properly assisting the police, but more importantly, building sports, leisure, recreation infrastructure – all of these things understood a quality, holistic platform that we're bringing to the forefront. And it is nothing new from what we were saying at the municipal level. So there is consistency there.
There is a lot of criticism directed towards Bloc Montreal that it will remove votes from the Quebec Liberals – and this may result in separation between votes, especially among Anglophones, and this might increase the chances of Premier Legault keeping his majority government – ​​what's your response to that?
It's very simple. This is an anti-democratic sentiment whereby the Liberals have a monopoly on all the votes. This is an anti-democratic sentiment. Competition and innovation is great. New political parties with new candidates is phenomenal. And that's what we need to strengthen our democracy.





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