Martine Ouellet quits Bloc leadership; settles scores with detractors

Martine Ouellet is stepping down as head of the Bloc Quebecois after her resounding defeat in a weekend leadership vote.

She made her resignation announcement 28 minutes into her Monday morning news conference. Before that, she took shots at her detractors, including federalists, the Trudeau government, separatists who won't talk about separatism, former Bloc leader Mario Beaulieu, and many others.

Her resignation takes effect next Monday, June 11.

Bloc rank and file gave Ouellet 32 per cent support in the leadership vote.

Ouellet, 49, has been leader since March 2017.

The Bloc has been in disarray since late February when seven of its 10 MPs quit over Ouellet's leadership style.

Of the three who remained, only two still backed her heading into the vote.

Ouellet defended her decision to be a vocal promoter of Quebec independence since becoming leader.

"I did not come to the Bloc for a title but to defend a cause: that of independence and the republic of Quebec,'' she told the news conference.

"Rest assured, I will continue. Nothing is finished for me. But I must admit that, at the end of the day, my main conclusion is that the main obstacle to Quebec becoming a republic comes from within the sovereigntist movement.

"That is not normal. The movement is ill.''