Ex MP Lemieux to seek PC leadership
Stephen Harper has sat quiet in the backbenches on Parliament Hill since he led his party to defeat and lost his title as prime minister in the last federal election. Meanwhile the lineup of contenders wanting to be the new leader of the Conservative Party and former MP Pierre Lemieux’s name is now on that list.
Lemieux, 53, held the Glengarry-PrescottRussell riding for the Conservatives for the duration of the Harper government, taking it away from the Liberals in 2006, beating Liberal contender René Berthiaume by a narrow margin. Former Liberal MP Don Boudria had held the riding for 21 years before announcing his retirement in 2005. Francis Drouin regained the riding for the Liberals in the 2015 election.
Now Lemieux is seeking support as a candidate for the federal Conservative leadership. He declared his candidacy in an email sent out August 22 to Conservative party supporters in the Glengarry-Prescott-Russell riding. A copy of the email was obtained by national and regional media and in it Lemieux outlines his reasons for entering the leadership race.
“There are many reason why”, stated Lemieux, “but a key one is that I feel that this is an extremely important time in the Conservative Party—both in terms of choosing a leader, but also in encouraging as many people as possible to join the party, to stand and be counted, so that they can help shape the party as it moves forward. It is a great time to bring new life into the party!”
Lemieux presented some of the key principles for his “social conservative” campaign platform, including his views on the role of the family in Canadian society.
“Pierre is pro-life and believes in the sanctity of life from conception through to natural death,” states a backgrounder document entitled “Pierre Lemieux Leadership”, included with the email. “Pierre supports the traditional definition of marriage as the union between one man and one woman. Pierre believes that this leadership campaign offers a tremendous opportunity for people to get involved and make their voices heard.”
The backgrounder lists Lemieux’s other priorities as a leadership candidate, including freedom of speech, religion and assembly, “a strong and healthy democratic process”, and having MPs in office with high ethical standards who “display integrity, honesty, and concern for the best interests of Canadians.”
Lemieux’s background as a former MP includes several parliamentary secretary posts, including the one for the Ministry of Veterans Affairs. He is bilingual and served 20 years in the Canadian Armed Forces, retiring as a lieutenant-colonel. A certified professional engineer, including both a bachelor’s degree in engineering and a master’s degree in science, Lemieux managed his own engineering consultant firm before entering federal politics.
Lemieux’s announcement makes him the seventh declared candidate for the Conservative leadership. Other declared candidates are: Maxime Bernier, Michael Chong, Tony Clement, Kellie Leitch, Deepak Obhrai, and Brad Trost. Political pundits speculate that former defence minister Peter MacKay and other Tories like Lisa Raitt, Andrew Saxton, Andrew Scheer, and Erin O’Toole may also be considering entering the campaign.
The federal Conservative leadership conference takes place in May 2017.
Former MP Pierre Lemieux may be one of the candidates vying to become the new leader of the federal Conservative party.