Lapierre may not seek re-election
by Romeo St. Martin
[PoliticsWatch updated 2:50 p.m. December 4, 2006]
|Liberal MP Jean Lapierre.
Liberal MP Jean Lapierre told reporters Monday he may not run in the
next federal election.
Lapierre left a high-paying job as a Montreal
talk radio host in 2003 to work for former prime minister Paul
Martin and later become his Quebec lieutenant.
"I said when I came back to politics that I came with Paul Martin and I was going to go with Paul Martin. As of Thursday night, I feel emotionally and morally relieved of my commitment and now it's for me to decide what I'm going to
do," Lapierre told reporters before question period.
Lapierre emphasized that any decision he makes has nothing to do
with the party's selection of Stephane Dion as leader at the
weekend convention in Montreal.
Dion is considered a hardline federalist, while Lapierre left the
Liberal caucus in 1990 to join the Bloc Quebecois after the Liberals
picked Meech Lake opponent Jean Chretien as their
Lapierre backed Martin in the 1990 leadership race, but remained
neutral during this leadership campaign.
"I started to reflect on that a while ago and that has nothing to do with
leadership," he said of his possible retirement from
politics." It has to do with personal career."
Lapierre's time as Martin's Quebec lieutenant turned out to be
bitter sweet because of the fallout from the sponsorship scandal
which decimated the Liberal party brand in Quebec.
And Lapierre had a warning for Liberals who were still buoyant about
Dion's election victory, saying things aren't going to get any
easier for the party in Quebec.
"This whole sponsorship thing is still sticking with us," he
"In January, you're going to have criminal charges laid out for five or seven individuals, you're going to have a report from a judge on Option Canada and all of those things are going to affect our brand. That's the major problem for any candidate who would have won this race."
How much this will stick to Dion will be interesting.
Dion served as Chretien's national unity minister during the
duration of the controversial program that was based on promoting
the Canadian word mark in Quebec.
He testified during the Gomery inquiry that he was unaware of the
existence of the program. In his fact-finding report, Justice John
Gomery concluded the program was used as an "elaborate
kickback scheme" for Liberal party organizers and insiders in
The Conservatives also plan to attack Dion on this
In a news release circulated within hours of Dion's convention
victory, Treasury Board President John Baird noted, “Mr. Dion was part of the Chrétien
cabinet during the sponsorship scandal and was in cabinet as successive Liberal governments presided over the multi-billion dollar HRDC and gun registry
However, Lapierre said he does not see sponsorship being a problem
"He went before Gomery and he was clean as Ivory Snow from what I
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