BQ ag critic officially seeking party leadership

Bloc Quebecois MP Andre Bellavance, the party’s ag critic and a former vice-chair of the Commons agriculture committee, is officially in the running for the party’s leadership.

Bellavance, 49, a former radio journalist, has been the MP for the riding of Richmond-Arthabaska and the Bloc’s caucus vice-chair since 2004. He’s served as the party’s critic for agriculture and agri-food since 2005.

He also served stints as a vice-chairman of the Commons standing committee on agriculture and agri-food (2005-11), and as vice-chair of the ag committee’s subcommittees on food safety (2009) and agenda and procedure (2006-07, 2008, 2009, 2010-11).

After the Bloc bench was reduced to just four MPs in the 2011 federal election, Bellavance became the party’s leader in the House of Commons and also became critic for 15 other portfolios including health, justice and interprovincial and international trade.

Bellavance stepped down from his House leader post in February this year to consider a possible leadership run. The BQ caucus since then has been led by rookie Gaspesie-area MP Jean-Francois Fortin.

The Bloc’s official leadership became vacant in December 2013 after then-leader Daniel Paille said he would step down, citing health reasons.

The Bloc’s leadership elections chief, Mathieu Alarie, confirmed in a release Tuesday that Bellavance had put down the required $15,000 deposit and gathered at least 1,000 signatures from across at least 25 different ridings (including a minimum 15 signatures from each of those ridings).

The BQ’s deadline for leadership candidacy applications is Wednesday (May 7), ahead of the party’s convention May 23-25 in Rimouski. — Network


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