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CTV.ca, Tuesday, June 2, 2004

Lone Quebec Tory throws support behind Liberal

by CTV.ca News Staff

Former Conservative MP Andre Bachand has announced he will throw his support behind the Liberal candidate in his riding, dealing a blow to Stephen Harper's campaign in Quebec.

In a final insult from a disgruntled former Tory, Bachand put his support behind Liberal candidate Christine St-Pierre in his former riding of Richmond-Arthabaska.

"Canada is not ready for a new Conservative Party in power," Bachand said.

St-Pierre's main rival is Bloc Quebecois candidate Andre Bellavance, who narrowly lost to Bachand in the 2000 election -- the only Progressive Conservative to win a seat in Quebec.

Bachand resigned from the Conservative caucus and decided to sit as an independent in protest of the PC merger with the Canadian Alliance. His feelings haven't changed.

"I believe that no Conservative Party member will be elected in Quebec," he said.

The Conservative Party is downplaying his move.

"Joining the Liberal Party is the right place for him because both of them don't have credibility," said the riding's Conservative candidate, Pierre Poissant.

Liberal Party candidate Jean LaPierre said the move will reverberate across the country. "I think the fact the only Conservative MP says 'don't trust Stephen Harper. Vote for Paul Martin' I think it's significant."

The Liberals are taking a hit in Quebec, in large part because of a $100-million sponsorship scandal. A recent Ipsos-Reid poll suggests the Bloc Quebecois has 44 per cent support in the province -- a 15-point lead on the Liberals.

CTV.ca News Staff with a report from CJOH's Amanda Jelowicki

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