Dr. Gaétan Barrette is gunning for the position of health minister with the Liberal Party of Quebec, having announced his candidacy this morning alongside party leader Philippe Couillard.

This morning, Barrette resigned as president of the Fédération des médecins spécialistes du Québec in order to run for election in the riding of La Pinière.

The riding was formerly held by Fatima Houda-Pepin.

“Many of you are probably surprised,” Barrette said to members of the media Monday morning.

“It’s true that in early February, about one month ago, I said I would not run,” he continued.

The radiologist said that he was compelled as a Quebec citizen to enter the race so that he could make the provincial health care system work more efficiently.

He said there’s been nothing but deterioration in the health care system since the Parti Québécois came to power in late 2012.

“I’ve never seen, in my entire career — which is coming up on 30 years — I’ve never seen as many cuts to the health care system as with the Parti Québécois,” Barrette said in French.

He said the PQ’s numbers did not add up and that he was joining the Liberal ranks because it was the only competent party to take on Pauline Marois.

Barrette ran for election in 2012 under the Coalition Avenir Québec banner. His announcement today incited the criticism of CAQ leader François Legault:

A provincial election is expected to be called this week.

Candidates announced so far

Radio-Canada has compiled a list of candidates running so far in the expected election:

Parti Québécois (PQ)

  • Dominique Payette (Charlesbourg)

  • Sophie Stanké (Laporte)

  • Jean Poirier (Vimont)

  • Véronique Fournier (Saint-Henri-Sainte-Anne)

  • Lorraine Pintal (Verdun)

  • Isabelle Hallé (Mégantic)

  • Sylvie Legault (Mercier)

  • Pierre Céré (Laurier-Dorion)

  • Alexis Deschênes (Trois-Rivières)

  • Linda Goupil (Bellechasse)

Liberal Party of Quebec (PLQ)

  • François Blais (Charlesbourg)

  • Marie-Claude Collin (Blainville)

  • Hélène David (Outremont)

  • Pascal Proulx (Granby)

  • Luc Blanchette (Rouyn-Noranda-Témiscamingue)

  • Serge Bastien (Abitibi-Ouest)

  • Gaétan Barrette (La Pinière)

  • Carlos Leitao (Robert Baldwin)

  • Martin Coiteux (Nelligan)

  • Jacques Daoust (Verdun)

Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ)

  • Benoit Charette (Deux-Montagnes)

  • Lise Lavallée (Repentigny)

  • Stéphanie Lachance (Bellechasse)

  • Noah Sidel (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce)

  • Émilie Foster (Jean-Lesage)

  • Hugues Beaulieu (Jean-Talon)

  • Domenico Cavaliere (Sainte-Rose)

  • Mario Gagnier (Soulanges)

  • Claire Isabelle (Huntingdon)

  • Ian Latrémouille (Charlevoix - Côte-de-Beaupré)

  • Sylvain Medza (Bourget)

  • Stéphane Robichaud (Vachon)

  • Jean Bosco Citegetse (Hull)

  • André Paradis (Gatineau)

  • Mario Laframboise (Blainville)

  • Bernard Flébus (Rouyn-Noranda-Témiscamingue)

  • Sylvain Martel (Abitibi-Est)

  • Nadia Racine (Abitibi-Ouest)

  • Michael Cameron (Ungava)

  • Carlie Dejoie (Chomedey)

  • Mireille Caron (Côte-du-Sud)

  • Paul Franche (Gouin)

  • Sylvain Loranger (Mille-Îles)

  • Jamilla Leboeuf (Mont-Royal)

  • Marc-Alexandre Bourget (Orford)

  • René Langelier (Papineau)

  • Claude Charette (Rousseau)

  • Joseph Dydzak (Vimont)

Québec Solidaire

  • Manon Massé (Sainte-Marie-Saint-Jacques)

  • Guy Leclerc (Rouyn-Noranda-Témiscamingue)

  • Sébastien Robert (Vachon)