Article in Nationalism and Ethnic Politics (Vol. 14, Issue 4, pages 487–522).
We address the behavior of separatist parties participating in state legislatures in well-established democracies, taking the Bloc Québécois (BQ) as a case. Analysis of oral questions asked in the Canadian House of Commons reveals a broad set of issues addressed by the BQ; its aggregate priorities comprising many issues of federal concern. It is shown that the BQ’s attention to issues of separation in Question Period mainly follows, rather than leads, public support in Quebec for sovereignty. The party appears on the whole limited in its ability to mobilize public support for sovereignty and to pursue its separatist agenda more rigorously.