Quebec MNA leaves Legault’s CAQ caucus to run for Conservatives in federal election

Click to play video: 'CAQ whip jumps ship to join federal Conservatives as Quebec candidate'
CAQ whip jumps ship to join federal Conservatives as Quebec candidate
WATCH: It's considered a big blow to the CAQ. Government Whip Éric Lefebvre is leaving the party to run as a Conservative Party candidate in the next federal election. Lefebvre is the second CAQ MNA to step down in less than one year. Global's Franca Mignacca reports – Apr 17, 2024

With his sights set on the next federal election, the whip for the Coalition Avenir Québec and MNA for Arthabaska has stepped down from the party.

Éric Lefebvre announced the move on X, formerly known as Twitter, late Tuesday. He said he submitted his resignation from caucus to Quebec Premier and CAQ Leader François Legault.

Lefebvre said he plans on running with the Pierre Poilievre’s Conservative Party in the next Canadian election — but he won’t be leaving provincial politics just yet.

“I will now sit as an Independent MNA, and will continue my work with the citizens of Arthabaska,” Lefebvre wrote. “Thank you to my colleagues and collaborators for all these wonderful years.”

Lefebvre is the second CAQ elected official to leave the party’s caucus since the last provincial election in 2022. Joëlle Boutin, who represented the riding of Jean-Talon in Quebec City, resigned last summer for personal reasons.

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After Boutin left, Legault’s party ended up losing the seat in the byelection to the Parti Québécois. But since Lefebvre said he will sit as an independent MNA, there won’t be a byelection to replace him — at least not for now.

Click to play video: 'French PM, Quebec premier share common views on French language and secularism'
French PM, Quebec premier share common views on French language and secularism

The Quebec premier addressed Lefebvre’s announcement, saying he asked him to withdraw from the CAQ caucus.

“Thank you Éric for your years of public service and good luck in your new challenges,” Legault wrote on social media.

Quebec’s political sphere was quick to react to the news. Both Québec Solidaire and the PQ expressed concerns about Lefebvre’s plans to keep his seat in Arthabaska.

Vincent Marissal, the Québec Solidaire MNA for Rosemont, said Lefebvre having a foot in both federal and provincial politics at once could be confusing for constituents.

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“I don’t think you can do both, not for months,” Marissal said.

Lefebvre is “putting himself in an uncomfortable situation,” he added.

“So, I think, at the end of the day, he’s a smart and big guy and he will take the good decision regarding this situation,” he said.

Quebec Liberal Party Interim Leader Marc Tanguay said Lefebvre’s decision is “very, very bad news for François Legault.”

“We were very surprised,” he said. “Because as the leader whip he’s there to ensure the cohesion of the team, he’s there to make sure that people will be working together.

“But, at the end of the day, what’s the message sent out? Is it that Mr. Lefebvre sees more future, more potential with Pierre Poilievre than with Mr. Legault?”

with files from The Canadian Press

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