Former Quebec cabinet minister Yolande James confirms jump to federal politics

Charest-era minister announced plans to run for Liberal nomination in Saint-Laurent on social media Sunday.

Charest-era minister announced plans to run for Liberal nomination in Saint-Laurent on social media Sunday

Yolande James, former minister of Immigration and Cultural Communities, is officially seeking the Liberal nomination in the federal district of Saint-Laurent. (Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press)

Former provincial immigration minister Yolande James confirmed speculation she plans to enter federal politics via social media on Sunday afternoon.

James is seeking the Liberal nomination in the Montreal riding of Saint-Laurent, left vacant after veteran MP and former Liberal leader Stéphane Dion left politics to accept the position of ambassador to the European Union and Germany.

In the beginning of February, Radio-Canada reported James had been approached by the Liberal party to run.

James is fluently bilingual, was the first black woman to be sworn into Quebec's National Assembly, the province's first black cabinet minister and the youngest MNA in Quebec history when she was first elected.

She represented the West Island district of Nelligan from 2004 to 2014.

She formerly appeared as a columnist on CBC Montreal's Daybreak and on the French-language show Les Ex on ICI RDI, among other CBC/Radio-Canada programs.

Liberal nomination race heating up

The borough mayor of Saint-Laurent, Alan DeSousa, announced his intention to run for the federal Liberal nomination Friday.

During his news conference, DeSousa said the sudden vacancy is the reason why is he turning towards federal politics.

"We have an opening here in Saint-Laurent," he said. "This is not something I sought. This is just something that happened."

Saint-Laurent borough mayor Alan DeSousa said he is the most 'grassroots' candidate for the federal riding of Saint-Laurent. (Matt D'Amours/CBC)

A lesser known candidate, tax law professor Marwah Rizqy, announced her candidacy last week on Twitter.