08/05/2011 01:44 EDT | Updated 10/05/2011 05:12 EDT

Liberal Leader Rae doubtful about Turmel's commitment to federalism

TORONTO - Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae says he has doubts about whether Nycole Turmel is a federalist.

The interim NDP leader revealed this week she was formerly a member of the separatist Bloc Quebecois for about four years.

She says she joined the Bloc because a friend asked her to and because of the party's stance on various issues but says she was never a separatist.

Rae says her explanation "doesn't add up" and she has some more explaining to do on the matter.

He says that if she was truly a federalist she wouldn't have joined the Bloc Quebecois in the first place.

Turmel publicly reaffirmed her commitment to federalism this week by promising to not renew her membership in another separatist party, Quebec Solidaire, when it expires.

Having a leader of the opposition with separatist ties could have consequences for national unity, Rae told reporters Friday in his riding of Toronto-Centre.

"What kind of federalism is it that leads someone to join two other parties, both of which are committed to the independence of Quebec, the sovereignty of Quebec and in the case of Quebec Solidaire a socialist Quebec," he said.

"What is she thinking?"

Turmel says she never supported separatism, even when she was a member of the Bloc.