MONTREAL – Former health minister Philippe Couillard is the third person to enter the race to succeed Jean Charest as Quebec Liberal leader.
Couillard is considered the front-runner in a contest that so far also features ex-cabinet ministers Raymond Bachand and Pierre Moreau.
The 55-year-old Couillard, who held the health portfolio between 2003 and 2008, made the announcement at a news conference in Montreal on Wednesday.
He has said he wants the Liberals to better defend Quebecers on key identity issues such as language and the province’s relationship with Ottawa.
”No party has the monopoly on the pride and the promotion of the Quebec identity,” Couillard told the news conference.
”The pride of being a Quebecer is shared by everyone, be they francophone, anglophone or allophone.
Couillard said Quebec must ”open itself to everyone who wants a voice and must listen to points of view other than that of the francophone majority.”
Couillard was criticized in some quarters after his political retirement for negotiating the terms of his private-sector employment while he was still a cabinet minister.
He insists he did nothing wrong and that the controversy won’t hurt him in the leadership campaign.