Canada

Garneau to be Ignatieff's Quebec point man

Federal Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff has tapped Marc Garneau to be his new top man in Quebec.

Federal Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff has tapped former astronaut Marc Garneau to be his new top man in Quebec.

Ignatieff said Wednesday in Ottawa that Garneau, the MP for the Montreal riding of Westmount-Ville-Marie, to take over responsibilities in the province from former lieutenant Denis Coderre.

But Garneau will not be called the Liberals' lieutenant — instead he will hold the title of "Michael Ignatieff's representative in Quebec."

Pablo Rodriguez, the Liberal MP for the riding of Honoré-Mercier, has been named president of the federal Liberal Quebec caucus, a position Garneau previously held.

The party's chief Quebec organizer is still to be announced, Ignatieff told reporters.

Ignatieff didn't take questions on his decision to select Garneau, who he described as a "Canadian hero, colleague and friend. " 

Coderre touched off a storm in the party last week when he announced his decision. He blamed unnamed "advisers from Toronto" for interfering with his home province's affairs.

Coderre told reporters that he no longer had the "moral authority" to act as leader Michael Ignatieff's man in Quebec, after being overruled in choosing the Liberal candidate for the Montreal riding of Outremont.

Coderre wanted a woman — business executive Nathalie Le Prohon — nominated  to run in the riding, which is currently held by Thomas Mulcair of the New Democratic Party.

Ignatieff initially supported Coderre on the nomination of Le Prohon, but Ignatieff then did an about-face and said former cabinet minister Martin Cauchon would get the nomination in the riding.

Coderre was criticized by party members for trying to block the nomination of Cauchon, a popular Liberal and personal rival who is staging a political comeback after once representing Outremont for 11 years.

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