Montreal

High-profile Quebec environmentalist to run for federal Liberals in key Montreal riding

Steven Guilbeault, best known as one of the founders of the Quebec environmental lobby group Équiterre, will run in the downtown Montreal riding of Laurier-Sainte-Marie, currently held by the New Democrats.

Équiterre co-founder Steven Guilbeault to make bid official as Trudeau takes heat over TMX pipeline approval

Steven Guilbeault, left, seen here with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the Nature Champions Summit in Montreal last week, is to announce Friday he will run in the downtown Montreal riding of Laurier-Sainte-Marie. (Paul Chiasson/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

One of Quebec's leading environmentalists, Steven Guilbeault, will run for the Liberals in the next federal election, sources have told CBC News.

Guilbeault, best known as one of the founders of the Quebec environmental lobby group Équiterre, is expected to be a candidate in the downtown Montreal riding of Laurier-Sainte-Marie, currently held by the New Democrats.

The news, to be made official Friday, comes as the Liberal government is being criticized by environmentalists for having re-approved, earlier this week, an expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline, which carries oil from Edmonton, Alberta to Burnaby, B.C.

Guilbeault's decision will surprise few political observers in Quebec, who have speculated for months about his political intentions.

He left Équiterre last year and, shortly after that, he joined a panel of experts advising the federal government on climate change.

Guilbeault, 49, was alongside Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at an event last week in Quebec as Trudeau announced Ottawa's intention to ban single-use plastic bags

The race in Laurier-Sainte-Marie could be hotly contested. Hélène Laverdière won it for the NDP during the 2011 Orange Wave, knocking off then-Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe in the process. 

Laverdière beat Duceppe again in 2015. Last year, she joined a long list of current NDP MPs who said they won't be running in the October campaign.

Nima Machouf, a public health epidemiologist, will try to keep the riding in the NDP's hands.

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