POLITICS

Maria Mourani, Former Bloc MP, To Join NDP, But Not Yet As MP

11/19/2014 11:22 EST | Updated 08/28/2015 11:59 EDT
OTTAWA - She may have signed a giant NDP membership card Wednesday, but former Bloc Quebecois MP Maria Mourani will first have to be re-elected as a New Democrat in 2015 before she can join the party's caucus.

Mourani's search for a political home after being expelled from the Bloc last year has led her to the federal New Democrats, but the party's rules prevent her from crossing the floor of the House of Commons to join them.

Nonetheless, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair called Mourani's decision an honour.

"Her courage her convictions have impressed a lot of people in the last year,"he told a news conference, which featured Mourani signing her name to a giant orange NDP membership.

"Her progressive values are those of the NDP.''

For her part, Mourani said she hasn't fully made up her mind whether she'll run in the 2015 campaign. First, she said, she wants to take the time to talk to her riding executives and constituents.

"Personally, yes, I want to stay in politics otherwise I wouldn't be here," she said in French. "And I want to run for the NDP."

Mourani was thrown into the role of an Independent member of Parliament after the federal separatist party kicked her out for criticizing the then-provincial Parti Quebecois government's proposed charter of values.

Though she'd once run for the leadership of the BQ, a few months after being expelled she renounced her separatist beliefs.

After lengthy reflection, she said she now believes her political values align most closely with the New Democrats — a conclusion she said her constituents will understand, if not agree with.

"They understand that I'm social democrat, that I'm progressive, so logically my ideas, my values, my path is towards the NDP," she said. "So I think I'll be much better accepted then if, for example, I went to the Conservative party."

Though she didn't go knocking at those caucus doors, Mourani did say Wednesday she discussed joining the Greens and the Liberals.

She ultimately walked away from the Liberals in part because Trudeau wouldn't meet with her, she said.

"I felt like there is no leader in this party," she said. "For me, a party needs policies, we need values and we need a leader."

Asked about Mourani's comments later Wednesday, Trudeau said the conversations were preliminary.

"Madame Mourani approached us a number of times with an interest in perhaps becoming part of the Liberal team. We indicated that there is a process. We have open nominations," he said.

"And it never got far enough along for me to actually sit down and meet with her."

Mourani was first elected in 2006 to represent the Montreal riding of Ahunstic, though she ran unsuccessfully for the BQ in 2004.

She is the first woman of Lebanese origin to be elected to the House of Commons.

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