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Quebec Liberals unveil star candidate who ran for CAQ in 2012

Gaetan Barrette, left, listens to CAQ Leader François Legault in Montreal on July 31, 2012. Mr. Barrette will be running for the Liberals in Quebec’s upcoming election.

PAUL CHIASSON/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The head of the federation that represents specialist doctors is going to seek election for the Quebec Liberals.

Gaetan Barrette, who ran unsuccessfully for the Coalition Avenir Québec in the 2012 election, will be the Liberal candidate in La Pinière, just south of Montreal.

The riding has been represented since 1994 by Fatima Houda-Pepin, who recently parted company with the Liberals over the party's stand on the government's proposed secular charter of values.

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She is expected to announce on Tuesday she will run as an Independent.

Barrette said one of the reasons he has decided to run for the Liberals is the party's position on health care.

"I came here because this is, in my opinion, the best alternative for Quebeckers," Barrette said. "This is the only sound economic alternative [and] it's the same thing in health care, it's the same thing in education.

Barrette said he believes the situation in Quebec has deteriorated since his last run at politics two years ago.

"Everything is worse than what it was at that time," Barrette told a news conference Monday. "It is worse in terms of the economy, it is worse in terms of health care."

Barrette also said he is worried about the possibility of another referendum on sovereignty.

"That has to stop and if this is to stop, it has to be through a majority Liberal government in this province," he said.

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Barrette is stepping down as head of the group that represents specialist doctors.

Premier Pauline Marois, who heads a minority government, is widely expected to call an election this week or next for April 7 or 14.

Québec Solidaire, a left-wing sovereigntist party, announced four candidates on Monday, including labour activist Claude Généreux.

Françoise David, one of the party's two members in the National Assembly, will also see her sister running in the election, although Hélène David will be seeking to get elected as a Liberal.

Françoise David said she and her sister come from a very political family.

"There are people of all political stripes," she said. "This never stopped us from having very warm family gatherings with lots of good debates."

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She recalled there are other such families in Quebec, citing the Johnsons, whose patriarch was a Union Nationale premier while sons Pierre Marc and Daniel were respectively Parti Québécois and Liberal leaders.

"Now you have the David sisters," Françoise David said. "It shows the times are changing. I don't see any problems. I'm sure our Easter dinner will go well."

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