Premier Philippe Couillard’s office consulted Quebec City Mayor Régis Labeaume to get his opinion on which candidate he would favour in the Louis-Hébert by-election to replace Éric Tétrault, Quebec City’s Le Soleil newspaper reports.
Labeaume’s press secretary, Paul-Christian Nolin, confirmed that the mayor was consulted but refused to say what his response was.
Nolin said that the Liberal Party did not contact Labeaume before selecting Eric Tétrault, who dropped out of the race due to a harassment case at work.
The premier’s press secretary, Charles Robert, also acknowledge that staff for Couillard and Labeaume spoke, but added that it was “a private conversation.”
Labeaume had an excellent working relationship with Sam Hamad, the former MNA for Louis-Hébert and a former cabinet minister responsible for the provincial capital region. He had pleaded for Hamad to be reinstated in the cabinet in 2016 after he was dismissed because of allegations of influence peddling.
According to information obtained by Le Soleil, the PLQ is considering three women to succeed Éric Tétrault, including businesswoman Anne Marcotte. Marcotte has been very critical of Labeaume, who was previously the president of the Entrepreneurship Foundation, accusing him of being a turncoat towards entrepreneurs once he was elected to City Hall.
Another potential candidate is Ihssane El Ghernati, a former political attaché to Hamad.