Four Conservative members of Parliament say they want former Quebec premier Jean Charest to enter the race for the party's leadership.

In an open letter published Tuesday, the MPs say Charest is the best person to defeat the Liberals and lead the relaunch of Canada's economy.

Charest, 63, became leader of the Progressive Conservative Party in 1993, after he was one of two MPs from that party elected while former prime minister Kim Campbell was dealt a humiliating electoral defeat.

Charest left federal politics in 1998 and became leader of Quebec Liberal Party. He was premier of Quebec from 2003 to 2012, when his party was defeated in an early election he called following massive student protests.

Since leaving politics, Charest has practiced law, and has also been the subject of a multi-year investigation by Quebec's anti-corruption police related to financing of the Quebec Liberal Party.

Pierre Poilievre, an Ottawa-area member of Parliament, is the only confirmed candidate in the race for the Conservative leadership

The letter was signed by Quebec MPs Alain Rayes and Dominique Vien; Nova Scotia MP Rick Perkins; Ontario MP John Nater; New Brunswick Senator Percy Mockler; former MP David Sweet; Louis Leger, chief of staff to the premier of New Brunswick; and Leo Power, a former director of the Conservative Party's fundraising arm.

This report by the Canadian Press was first published on Feb. 22, 2022, with files from CTV Montreal.


An earlier version of this Canadian Press story said that Jean Charest left federal politics in 1993. In fact, he left in 1998. The story has been updated.