Jean-François Fortin, Jean-François Larose form new political party
Former Bloc Québécois MP, defecting NDP MP from Quebec start Forces et Démocratie
Two Quebec MPs announced today they're forming a new federal political party.
Once registered, Forces et Démocratie would be the sixth federal party with MPs currently sitting in the House of Commons.
Ex-Bloc Québécois MP Jean-François Fortin, who has been sitting as an Independent since the summer, represents the riding of Haute-Gaspésie-La Mitis-Matane-Matapédia.
Newly defected New Democrat Jean-François Larose represents the riding of Repentigny.
In a press release announcing their intentions, the MPs say Forces et Démocratie will better serve their constituents priorities.
The current parties have lost sight of what's essential, the release says in French. All regions of Quebec, including Greater Montreal, feel "forgotten, overlooked, or even clearly despised" by the federal government, the statement says.
When he left the Bloc to sit as an Independent in August, Fortin said he was considering creating a new party. Fortin will serve as the leader of the new party.
Fortin was one of two MPs to leave the sovereigntist party after the election of its new leader, Mario Beaulieu, in June.
In his statement, Fortin criticizes the other federal parties for being out of tune with the public, and feeding cynicism and disinterest in politics.
The new party he's proposing, Fortin says, will "refuse to play by the rules" and not muzzle its MPs for wanting to represent their citizens. It will promote collaboration instead of confrontation, he says.
Also in French, Larose says that none of the current parties embodies what people want: Elected officials who are advocates for their region. He says politics must "go back to basics" and stop centralizing power in Ottawa.
Larose says politicians have a duty to strengthen their communities so that people have an alternative to "mediocre development projects" developed elsewhere.
Benoit Levesque Beaulieu, a spokesman for Fortin, says the new party is "something different." It is not a sovereigntist party, but it is a nationalist party, he says.
Both MPs plan to run under the new banner in the next federal election. They hope to be joined by a full slate of candidates in Quebec only.
There is no English version of the party's name, nor are there plans to expand it beyond the regions of Quebec.
'Disloyalty and betrayal' to Layton's memory
The NDP reacted quickly to losing another MP, issuing a strong statement of its own.
"This is a clear-cut act of disloyalty and betrayal of the memory of Jack Layton, along with the democratic choice of Repentigny voters," said MP Robert Aubin, who chairs the party's Quebec caucus.
The party says Larose must resign his seat and run again in a byelection if he wants to represent another party in the Commons. He voted in favour of a bill requiring resignation for floor-crossers in the past, New Democrats say.
Larose had been scheduled to rise in the House on Tuesday to make a members' statement. He is no longer doing so, the NDP says.
A letter was sent to House of Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer to register the new party's name. However, with only two MPs, the party doesn't have enough seats for it to be recognized as a political party in parliamentary proceedings.
The party is leaving open the possibility of more MPs crossing the floor to join it. Fortin's spokesman also says he is meeting with some prominent Quebecers who are considering endorsing the party.
In the short term, the pair plan to travel across Quebec to consult on a platform for the new party.
Fortin hopes to join the debate of French leaders in the next election, his spokesman said.
Only two BQ MPs remain in the House of Commons. One of them, another former New Democrat, does not plan to run in the next election.