Published 4th April, 2011
Bloc Québécois or BQ was founded in 1991 as the federal voice of Quebec separatism, with the aim of achieving sovereignty for this predominantly French speaking province.
In its first outing in 1993 the BQ won 54 of the 295 seats in parliament, becoming the second largest party and official opposition, despite representing just one province. In 1997 they won 44 seats and lost their role as official opposition to the then Reform Party.
In 2000 BQ won 38 seats but for the first time had fewer votes in Quebec than the Liberals and came third nationally.
In 2004 the BQ had their best year since 1993 and won 54 seats with 12.4% of the vote. Since then their tally of seats has dropped to 51 seats in 2006 and 49 in 2008 and just 10% of the vote. Perhaps more worrying, their percentage of the vote in Quebec has dropped from 48.9% in 2004 to just 38.1% in 2008.