Ex-CAQ MNA Claire Samson joining Quebec Conservatives

CAQ MNA Claire Samson was booted from caucus Tuesday, June 15, 2021, after it was revealed she made a $100 donation to the Conservative Party of Quebec. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Francis Vachon.

Former Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) MNA Claire Samson is expected to announce Friday that she is joining the Conservative Party of Quebec (PCQ).

She would be the party's only representative in office and will have PCQ leader Éric Duhaime by her side when she makes the announcement.

The Iberville MNA was booted from the CAQ's caucus Tuesday after making a $100 political donation to the provincial Conservatives.

The disgruntled 66-year-old says she was always made to believe that she had "no place in the party" or caucus and she was glad her association with the CAQ was "over."

CAQ caucus chair Mario Laframboise argues the party cannot accept that a member of its government financially supported a group that rejects science and COVID-19 health measures -- something Duhaime has done on numerous occasions.

Samson, who was first elected in 2014, insists she does not regret making the monetary donation to the PCQ, having met several times with Duhaime in recent months.

She is apparently not the only elected member of the National Assembly to be courted by the provincial Conservatives.

Sources close to Duhaime say that he has approached multiple MNAs since being elected leader last April, calling it 'Operation Charming.'

They state some CAQ politicians, as well as one Liberal member have shown interest and are thinking about crossing party lines.

Samson says she does not plan to run for reelection in 2022 due to her health problems, but muses she isn't entirely closing that door yet.

To date, the Conservatives have no seats in parliament, but with Samson's arrival, Duhaime will be given daily access to the press and could potentially participate in leadership debates during the 2022 election campaign.

The legislature resumes sitting in September. 

-- with files from The Canadian Press.