Mr. Speaker, on June 15, 1996, the Bloc Quebecois will celebrate its fifth anniversary. Indeed, it was on June 15, 1991, that Lucien Bouchard, along with a few other members of Parliament, founded our party, which now has 131,250 members.
At the time, the Conservatives, the Liberals and the New Democrats tried, with a rare show of unanimity, to muzzle the nine Bloc Quebecois members and to silence Quebec's claims and aspirations. It turned out to be a bad mistake on their part since, on October 25, 1993, 1,846,024 Quebecers elected 54 sovereignists members of Parliament. To top it all, the Bloc Quebecois became the official opposition.
Quebec has a strong voice in Ottawa to defend its interests and to promote sovereignty. This shows unequivocally that Quebec chose to stand up for itself.
It is with pride that we wish all Bloc Quebecois members a very exciting anniversary, and we invite them to join us in Sorel, on June 15, to celebrate with us.