Outgoing Liberal cabinet ponders future as party prepares for leadership run
Some members of Quebec’s Liberal cabinet are already jockeying to become the party’s next leader as the group held its final meeting in Quebec City Thursday.
Pierre Moreau – who lost his seat in the South Shore riding of Chateauguay – said he’s not ruling out the party’s top position.
“You never close a door when you like politics and I've been in politics for 14 years. I know now that it would be presumptuous of me to close any doors. You know that one week in politics is an eternity, so what happens in two years, in 18 months from now, nobody knows,” he said.
Moreau lost his riding to the CAQ’s MarieChantal Chassé after holding the seat for more than a decade.
“I’m at peace with the result,” he said. “I understand that when you believe in democracy, you have to respect the choice of the people.”
Moreau said the party needs some introspection before moving forward.
“We have to do that very seriously, to understand what went wrong, because it's the worst defeat in the history of our party,” he said.
Outgoing Education Minister Sebastien Proulx is also being considered as a potential leadership candidate.
For now, he's taken on the role of house leader, which means more responsibility and visibility during question period at the National Assembly, leading some to wonder whether that gives him an unfair advantage over potential future competitors.
“When the race will start, we'll make a decision at that time, but in the meantime I think it's important to have a parliamentary leader that is experienced,” said interim Liberal leader Pierre Arcand. “We are the official opposition and my job is find the best people for the job.”
The Liberals are now down to 29 seats from the 32 they won in the Oct. 1 election:
- Party leader Philippe Couillard resigned, which will force a by-election in his riding of Roberval.
- The party expelled Chomedey MNA Guy Ouellet from their caucus following a revelation during the campaign that in 2016 he had fed the CAQ incriminating information about a Liberal political appointee.
- The party has lost a seat in a judicial recount in Gaspe, awarding the seat to the PQ’s Meganne Perry Melancon. The recount showed Melancon won the seat by 41 votes.