Long-time Liberal MNA Kathleen Weil is latest to depart Quebec politics

·2 min read
Kathleen Weil, centre, announced she was leaving politics at a news conference Monday, alongside Liberal leader Dominique Anglade, left, and incoming candidate Désirée McGraw, right. (Charles Constant/CBC - image credit)
Kathleen Weil, centre, announced she was leaving politics at a news conference Monday, alongside Liberal leader Dominique Anglade, left, and incoming candidate Désirée McGraw, right. (Charles Constant/CBC - image credit)

Quebec Liberals are losing yet another big name heading into the provincial election, as Kathleen Weil announced she will not be running again.

A lawyer by training, Weil spent the past 14 years as MNA for the riding of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, serving as Quebec's minister of justice from 2008 to 2010 and as immigration minister from 2010 to 2012.

As of 2017, she was also the first-ever Quebec minister responsible for English-speaking Quebecers.

But Weil said the "greatest honour" of her career was to serve as the MNA for her riding.

"NDG is a riding like no other, undeniably the best," Weil said at a news conference Monday. "It is blessed with a vibrant and diverse community, the perfect image of a modern and open Quebec."

Her departure comes after a dozen Liberals announced they were not seeking re-election, including most recently Carlos Leitao, the MNA for the West Island riding of Robert-Baldwin who bowed out of the upcoming race Saturday.

Weil said now was the time for her to turn her attention toward home and focus on her family.

"When I first ran in 2008, I was called a hockey mom," she said. "I'm proud to say that 14 years later, I leave as a future hockey grandmom."

Désirée McGraw to be new Liberal candidate

Speaking alongside Weil, Liberal leader Dominique Anglade named Désirée McGraw, a public affairs and sustainable development advocate, as the party's new candidate for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce.

Anglade said that McGraw impressed her when they first met several years ago and called her a passionate and extraordinary candidate.

"When I think of Liberal Party values, and when I see Désirée, I see her representing every single one of them," Anglade said.

Charles Constant/CBC
Charles Constant/CBC

McGraw, a newcomer to politics who was born and raised in NDG, said she and her family thought long and hard about whether she wanted to throw herself into politics.

"Ultimately, I decided I could no longer sit on the sidelines when there are so many issues at stake," she said.

"These are not easy times for our community. These are not easy times for minorities in Quebec."

McGraw pointed to Bill 21, Quebec's law on religious symbols, and Bill 96, the recently passed law on protecting the French language, as issues that spurred her to act.

"No citizen should be treated as second class because of their race, their religion, their culture, their ethnicity, and or because of the language they speak at home," she said.

"To be clear: this is not OK."

McGraw also said she would focus on the "skyrocketing" cost of living, including housing, as well as access to family doctors and childcare.

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