The chief government whip leaves the CAQ

The chief government whip, Éric Lefebvre, announced Tuesday his departure from the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) in anticipation of his candidacy for the Conservative Party of Canada in the next federal election.

Mr. Lefebvre declared on social networks that in the meantime he will continue to represent the riding of Arthabaska as an independent deputy.

“Thank you to my colleagues and collaborators for all these wonderful years,” he declared.

Mr. Lefebvre had been a deputy since 2016, after being elected in a complementary ballot. Since 2018, he has been chief whip, a position whose role is to ensure the discipline of the caucus.

Prime Minister François Legault said he was informed Tuesday evening by Mr. Lefebvre of his decision.

“In this context, I asked him to withdraw from the CAQ caucus. Thank you Eric for your years of public service and good luck in your new challenges,” he wrote on social networks.

The date of the next federal elections is not known but, by sitting as an independent, Mr. Lefebvre will prevent the CAQ from exposing itself to a by-election in the context where the political party is in a disadvantageous position in the polls, facing the Quebec Party.

The departure last summer of MP Joëlle Boutin, in Quebec, forced a by-election which allowed the election of PQ Pascal Paradis in the riding of Jean-Talon, in October.

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