04/07/2016 14:14 EDT | Updated 04/08/2017 01:12 EDT

Quebec MP Maxime Bernier makes Conservative party leadership bid official

OTTAWA — Quebec MP Maxime Bernier has formally launched his bid to lead the federal Conservative party.

He's the second official candidate in the race after Ontario MP Kellie Leitch submitted her application Wednesday.

Bernier may end up with the distinction of being the lone contender from Quebec, the only province where the Tories actually increased their seat count in the last election.

He was drawn into federal politics in 2006 in an effort by the Tories to reverse their failure to win any seats at all Quebec in 2004.

Bernier captured his riding of Beauce with 67 per cent of the vote that year and has easily won re-election every time since.

Conservatives will vote for a new leader on May 27, 2017.

The Canadian Press