Rumours have been circulating for weeks, but now it’s official: high-profile Montreal police officer Ian Lafrenière is making the jump to politics.
At a press conference in south shore Saint-Hubert Tuesday afternoon, Lafrenière was introduced as the Coaltion Avenir Québec candidate for the Vachon riding in the upcoming provincial election on Oct. 1.
Lafrenière said he was drawn in by the values he shares with the CAQ.
“I’ve talked to you about transparency and honesty, and this is extremely important for me,” he said.”That’s the reason I joined the team that shared the same goals, the same values.”
A humble Lafrenière told reporters he’s ready to take on new challenges.
“I’m the new guy now,” he said. “I don’t consider myself an expert; it’s a learning experience.”
Earlier in the day, Lafrenière, an inspector who previously ran the communications department of the Montreal police, sent an email to journalists thanking them for years of “collaboration.”
Despite handing in his service weapon Monday evening, Lafrenière has not quit the police force but is taking an unpaid leave of absence.
Lafrenière admits it wasn’t an easy move to make but he’s ready to forge ahead.
“Leaving the police service was something, I underestimated the impact of that. Believe me, I was quite lost yesterday,” he said. “But now, joining a marvelous team with all the people of the CAQ … inspiring.”
Party leader François Legault said the Longueuil region, including the Vachon riding, was a high-stakes area.
“The three ridings in Longueuil are critical to determine who will form the next government,” he said. “So we hope the CAQ gets the three ridings.”
Legault added he felt the party’s chances were good.
“I think we have three very good candidates.”
Independent MNA Martine Ouellet currently holds the seat in the Vachon riding. She has been elected three times since 2010 under the Parti Québécois banner.
—With files from La Presse Canadienne