How a rookie MP from Victoriaville became Scheer's new Quebec lieutenant
MP Alain Rayes, former mayor of Victoriaville, supported Scheer throughout leadership campaign
Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer has chosen Alain Rayes, the MP for Richmond-Arthabaska and the rookie who helped him woo Quebec voters during his party's leadership race, as the new political lieutenant for the province.
The recently minted leader celebrated Quebec's Fête nationale with Rayes in Victoriaville, a town 160 kilometres northeast of Montreal, Saturday.
After he was recruited by the Tories so that the party could regain lost seats in Quebec, Rayes was elected to the House of Commons in the 2015 election.
Before that, the Victoriaville native served as mayor of his hometown from 2009 until his jump into federal politics. Rayes, 45, was also a candidate during Quebec's 2003 provincial election under the now dissolved Action démocratique du Québec party.
Fantastic afternoon with our <a href="https://twitter.com/CPC_HQ">@CPC_HQ</a> team in Québec for Fête nationale. Thanks <a href="https://twitter.com/AlainRayes">@AlainRayes</a> for hosting in Victoriaville! <a href="https://t.co/Z0M7mUKnGg">pic.twitter.com/Z0M7mUKnGg</a>—@AndrewScheer
With deep ties to his hometown, the new lieutenant also holds a Master's degree in school administration and worked at as the principal of the Polyvalente Le Boisé school in Victoriaville.
Rayes supported Scheer throughout the leadership race, helping gain traction for his campaign in Quebec and winning significant votes away from Scheer's primary competition, Maxime Bernier.
In Rayes' home riding, Scheer took home 89 per cent of the votes.
The role of lieutenant
Scheer promised to name a Quebec lieutenant early during his leadership campaign, following in the footsteps of his predecessor former prime minister Stephen Harper who had not one, but two Quebec lieutenants in the form of Christian Paradis and Denis Lebel.
Lebel recently announced he was leaving federal politics, saying it was not an easy decision to make.
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In a statement, Scheer credited Lebel for boosting the party's popularity in Quebec.
"Thanks to Denis' work before and during the last election, our party achieved historic results by electing 12 Conservative MPs in Quebec. We have a strong team in Quebec that plays a key role within our national caucus," said Scheer.
Now, it remains to be seen how Rayes will adapt to his new role and the challenges that come with it, including advancing their goal of winning over Quebecers in time for the next federal election.
Scheer is expected to announced the makeup of his shadow cabinet in the coming weeks.
With files from Radio-Canada's Raphaël Bouvier-Auclair and The Canadian Press