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Independent MP Alain Rayes Affirms He Won’t Run for Re-election as a ‘Political Orphan’

Former Conservative and now independent MP Alain Rayes says he will not run for office in the next election.

“You have to know when is the right time to leave,” the three-term MP
said in a Sept. 11 statement.

“After many thoughts and discussions with members of my family as well as several people close to me, I concluded that the time has come to retire from the public life.”

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Mr. Rayes left the Conservative Party in September 2022 following Pierre Poilievre’s election as leader. During the race, the Quebec MP representing the Richmond-Arthabaska riding had thrown his support behind former Quebec premier Jean Charest.

Mr. Poilievre took the win with over 68 percent of the vote on the first ballot with Mr. Charest a distant second with 16 percent.

Mr. Rayes
said at the time he could not close ranks behind Mr. Poilievre citing his “political ideals, values and convictions” being “not compatible with the new path” of the party.

He added he was leaving the Tories “without bitterness” and that he was still passionate and dedicated in his service to his constituents.

In his retirement announcement, the MP spoke of a challenging and demanding political life taking its toll at a personal and family level. Mr. Rayes also says he has found himself without a political home in the current setting.

“I had this ideal of doing politics differently and in a positive way, of managing finances responsibly,” said Mr. Rayes. “I realized that in the current environment, I have found myself, like many people, as a political orphan at the federal level.”

The MP says he doesn’t have any current plans for the future and is open to opportunities. Mr. Rayes was first elected in 2015 and previously served as the mayor of Victoriaville.

Mr. Rayes’ announcement comes on the heels of the Tory convention in Quebec City with the party seeking to make inroads in the province. The Tories currently have nine Quebec MPs in the House of Commons.

The Conservatives under Mr. Poilievre have filled their coffers and taken a double-digit lead in polls over the Liberals, focusing mostly on affordability issues.

Mr. Rayes has openly criticized Mr. Poilievre after leaving the caucus, notably about his stance on the CBC public broadcaster.

“What Pierre Poilievre and Elon Musk-Twitter are trying to do is dangerous for our democracy,”
wrote Mr. Rayes on X, formerly known as Twitter, back in April. X had slapped a since-removed label on CBC’s account indicating it is government-funded.
The MP
added it was “pure demagoguery” to claim that CBC produces propaganda and that the government controls it.
Mr. Poilievre has promised to defund the CBC and has
sparred openly with its president, Catherine Tait, claiming the broadcaster is biased against him.

Several Liberal MPs also announced they would not seek re-election after learning of their removal from cabinet in the July 26 shuffle. Those include former transport minister Omar Alghabra, former public services and procurement minister Helena Jaczek, former fisheries minister Joyce Murray, and former addictions minister Carolyn Bennett.

There are currently two other incumbent independent MPs: Kevin Vuong who was removed from the Liberal ticket during the last campaign, and Han Dong, who
left the Liberal caucus in March amid allegations concerning his ties with Beijing.

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