[PoliticsWatch updated 10:30 a.m., January 11, 2007]
|Former Liberal MP Jean Lapierre.
The federal Liberal caucus continues to shrink.
Liberal MP Jean Lapierre is
resigning from the Liberal caucus before the end of the month the
Canadian Press reported Thursday.
The departure of Lapierre, who was former prime minister Paul
Martin's Quebec lieutenant, is the second loss for the Liberal
caucus in a week.
Last Friday, MP Wajid Khan defected from
the Liberals to join the Conservative caucus.
Just days after Liberal Leader Stephane Dion won the Liberal
leadership convention, Lapierre told reporters that he was
considering leaving now that Martin's time as leader had come to an
"I said when I came back to politics that I came with Paul Martin and I was going to go with Paul
Martin," Lapierre said at the time. "(After Martin's
convention tribute), I feel emotionally and morally relieved of my commitment and now it's for me to decide what I'm going to
Lapierre is leaving politics to return to broadcasting.
His departure creates a vacancy in the Montreal seat of Outremont,
which has been at the centre of debate for Liberals this week, after
reports appeared that Justin Trudeau planned to seek the
nomination in the riding.
However, other Liberals are reported to be interested in the riding,
including former justice minister Martin Cauchon, who
represented the riding before Martin recruited Lapierre to re-enter
politics in 2004.
Lapierre's departure leaves the Liberals at the
100-seat mark in the House of Commons and further solidifies the
Tories' ability to survive a confidence vote in the
Lapierre, 50, was first elected to Parliament in 1979 at the age of
23. He served briefly in cabinet as minister of state for youth and
fitness for former prime minister John Turner in
Regarded as a Quebec nationalist, he backed Martin in the 1990 leadership race against Meech Lake foe
Jean Chretien, but left the party after Chretien won the leadership and later helped co-found the Bloc Quebecois.
He retired from politics in 1993 but returned in 2004 after Martin
became prime minister. Lapierre spent two years as Martin's
transport minister and Quebec lieutenant and became widely known for
his shoot-from-the-hip style of speaking.
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.
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