Larry Smith to run for Tories

Newly named Conservative Senator Larry Smith said he will run for his party in Montreal's West Island riding in the next federal election.
Larry Smith, seen here in last month announcing his departure as president and CEO of the Montreal Alouettes CFL club, was named to the Senate on Monday by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. ((Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press))
Newly named Conservative Senator Larry Smith said he will run for his party in Montreal's West Island riding in the next federal election.

The former CFL player and commissioner, and outgoing CEO of the Montreal Alouettes, said he will step down from the Senate when the election is called.

"I will not be appointed as a cabinet minister [right now]," he told reporters Tuesday evening after speaking to supporters at a meeting of the Lac-Saint-Louis Conservative riding association. "I've had that discussion with the prime minister because in my sense you have to earn your spot at the table."

His move came a day after Prime Minister Stephen Harper had named Smith as one of his party's new senators, giving the Conservatives a majority in the Red Chamber.

Under Section 39 of the Constitution Act, a senator is not capable of being elected or sitting or voting as a member of the House of Commons.

Despite his high profile, Smith faces an uphill battle in Lac-Saint-Louis, which has elected a Liberal in every federal contest since the riding was created in 1996. Liberal MP Francis Scarpaleggia has represented the riding since 2004, and in the 2008 election beat Conservative candidate Andrea Paine by more than 10,000 votes.

With his decision, Smith follows a path taken by another prominent Quebec Conservative, former cabinet minister Michael Fortier, who resigned from the Senate to run — unsuccessfully — for the House of Commons in the 2008 federal election. 

The prime minister had sparked an outcry in 2006 by naming Fortier to the Senate and to the federal cabinet, despite Fortier being an unelected party operative.

With files from The Canadian Press