Nationa lPost

Gilles Duceppe’s national invisibility tour
National Post

As attention-grabbers go, Gilles Duceppe could take a lesson from contentious right-wing-ranting columnist Ann Coulter. After angry protests greeted her in Ottawa, she toured to intensifying media coverage. Provoking a reaction, even a highly negative one, would be better than the futility of the Bloc Quebecois leader’s invisible trek across the country banging hollowly on a Quebec sovereignty drum that nobody hears.

Duceppe talks a lot about federal policies he claims offend Quebec sensibilities. Well, Quebecers might well be humiliated to have a guy who represents 48 of the province’s 75 seats wandering the zero-support Prairies to crowds so small they culminated today in a Calgary meeting with a lone academic who used to be Stephen Harper’s chief of staff. But short of cleaning his dirty shoes on a Canadian flag in the middle of the Stephen Avenue Mall, Duceppe won’t infuriate Albertans who simply don’t care enough to be outraged by this farce, er, face of Quebec separatism.

Now sleepwalking toward the end of his two-week, six-city tour, the Bloc Quebecois leader has accomplished little more than attracting media attention for not attracting public attention.

If this was a pitch to sell Quebec separation, he’s clearly talking to the disinterested masses. If it was a bid to induce a backlash to his sovereignty preference, it didn’t get a recoil kick. It’s a wasted effort when he should obviously be fighting to boost support inside the province he aims to nationalize.