A former high-profile candidate for the CAQ in the last election is now running under the Quebec Liberal banner in the next election — rumoured to be called as soon as later this week.
Dr. Gaetan Barrette, the former head of the Quebec Federation of Medical Specialists, will run in the Brossard-area riding of La Pinière, which is currently held by now independent candidate Fatima Houda-Pépin. Houda-Pépin had a falling out with the Quebec Liberals who kicked her out of caucus over their difference in opinions about the proposed secular charter.
Quebec Liberal leader Philippe Couillard presented his new candidate at the party's Montreal headquarters, along with Liberal health critic and former health minister Yves Bolduc.
Barrette ran in the last provincial election for the CAQ in North Shore Terrebonne. He was defeated by PQ candidate Mathieu Traversy.
Barrette said the Liberal party contacted him over the past month about running as a candidate. He said he feels the Liberals are the best alternative to the current PQ government which he criticized for what he called draconian cuts to healthcare services, resulting in a "deteriorating situation" which is "worsening day by day."
"And the worst of all came up last week. Again it will be about a referendum. Well, that has to stop and if this is to stop, it has to be through a majority Liberal government in this province," Barrette told reporters.
Barrette dismissed suggestions his change of allegiance could be seen as cynical or opportunistic, or his criticisms of the previous Charest government, hypocritical.
"Don't tell me that I am cynical by trying to be in a position to help and serve Quebeckers in the best manner possible," Barrette said.
"That was then, this is now. I will not spend the whole campaign addressing the past. I am here to address the future with this team and this party because I believe that Quebec needs it, you need it, we all need it."
Houda-Pépin is expected to announce her political future at a news conference tomorrow afternoon in her riding.