Federal Liberal members in eastern Quebec quit party to join NDP

Several members of the federal Liberal Party in eastern Quebec have resigned to join the NDP.

Local executive committee for the Gaspé-Magdalen Islands Association loses 8 of its 10 members

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau are facing off on the issue of balanced budgets, as Mulcair promises to balance the books while Trudeau said this week that a Liberal government would run three deficits before getting back to surplus. (Adrian Wyld/CP)

Several members of the federal Liberal Party in eastern Quebec have resigned to join the NDP.

The executive committee of the Gaspé-Magdalen Islands Association had 10 members, but 8 stepped down Monday night in anger, denouncing what they consider a lack of transparency by the Liberal Party of Canada.

Yoan Méthot-Bernatchez, the former president of the association, said he quit because the nomination process for the local candidate was not democratic.

"We have said no to democracy, no to ethics, no to youth," Méthot-Bernatchez said.

Tony Langlois, the former secretary and vice-president, also resigned.

Langlois said he wanted to submit his candidacy but wasn't in the region on the day of the nomination meeting. He said the local committee asked to postpone it twice, but the Liberal Party refused.

"It was a rigged nomination race in Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine in the month of April. Members did not have a choice of candidates," Langlois said, adding that this allowed Diane Lebouthillier, the head of the Rocher-Percé regional municipality, to be nominated by acclamation.

Papers never submitted, LPC says

The Liberal Party of Canada denied the democratic process was compromised.

Olivier Duchesneau, a spokesman for the party, told CBC late Tuesday that it had no reason to change the date of the nomination meeting because Langlois never submitted papers to run as a candidate.

"The Liberal Party of Canada respected all the rules. [Langlois] was never even on the radar when the co-chair decided on a nomination date because he never submitted his papers," Duchesneau said. "Across Canada, this is the only place where we had a situation like this...He either didn't read the rules or didn't understand the rules."

Lebouthillier, who won the nomination, said she is moving forward with her campaign and has no hard feelings against those who have left the party.

"It's their choice...There are still people who stayed. There are other people who are interested in being part of the executive committee...We will work with people who believe in the party," she said.

The eight members who resigned have all joined the local NDP association to support candidate Philip Toone.


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