Marie-Claude Nichols kicked out of Quebec Liberal Party caucus after shadow cabinet spat

Marie-Claude Nichols was first elected to Quebec's National Assembly in 2014, representing the riding of Vaudreuil. (Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Marie-Claude Nichols was first elected to Quebec's National Assembly in 2014, representing the riding of Vaudreuil. (Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press - image credit)

UPDATE: On Nov. 1, Marie-Claude Nichols announced she has refused an offer to return to the Liberal caucus, saying she's lost confidence in Leader Dominique Anglade. 

The Quebec Liberal party's already meagre presence in the province's legislature has shrunk again.

Caucus chair Enrico Ciccone said in a terse statement Thursday that Marie-Claude Nichols, who represents the Montreal-area riding of Vaudreuil, has been kicked out of caucus.

Nichols was first elected in 2014, and only two members of the current Liberal caucus have been in office longer than she has.

Liberal sources told the Canadian Press that Nichols had sought the deputy speaker position reserved for a member of the opposition but was not the party's choice for the role.

Liberal Leader Dominique Anglade had already set her sights on Frantz Benjamin, representing the Viau riding, for the deputy speaker position, Radio-Canada says.

So Nichols was offered the role of transport critic. When she declined the position, she was expelled, Radio-Canada says.

Anglade has instead picked Marc Tanguay from the LaFontaine riding to challenge the province's transport minister, Geneviève Guilbault.

The provincial election held earlier this month was the worst in the Liberal Party's history as it captured its lowest ever share of the popular vote and won only 21 of the legislature's 125 seats.

With Nichols gone, the Liberals are reduced to 20 seats.                               

Nichols won the Vaudreuil electoral district by a mere 576 votes  on Oct. 3, squeaking by the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) candidate.

In a written statement Friday, Nichols said she still intends to serve her constituents, while sitting as an Independent.

"I want to reassure them of my intentions to stay on as their MNA and to defend their interests, as I always have," Nichols said. "Nothing will change for them in terms of the energy my team has to serve them or in my presence in the riding or at the National Assembly, where will I do everything in my power to have their voices heard."