Quebec MP who left Conservatives says his office is being swamped by harassing callers

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A Quebec MP who left the Conservative Party of Canada Tuesday after Pierre Poilievre won the leadership over the weekend says he is facing harassment and bullying from people within the party.

Alain Rayes, who now represents the Richmond-Arthabaska riding as an Independent, says he received a text message around noon Wednesday asking him to call his riding office and demand Rayes’s resignation because “he has decided not to fight Trudeau’s inflation with Pierre Poilievre’s united team.”

“I had to look and I asked myself if it was really real or if it was sent out by mistake,” Rayes told Radio-Canada.

Rayes is still a member of the local Conservative riding association and believes the text was sent to all its members.

The 50-year-old MP said his voicemail has since been flooded with messages, to the point where he can’t get in touch with his employees or do his job properly.

While he first thought the text might have been fake or sent out as a mistake, Rayes now thinks it borders on harassment.

“They’re telling people, ‘Call him and fill up his voicemail with demands to resign.’ It’s not up to a few members to decide if I resign or not, that’s up to me or, during an election, the people will decide,” he said.

Members of the Conservative Party of Canada received a text urging them to call Alain Rayes’ office and demand he resign on Sept. 14, 2022. (Submitted by Alain Rayes)

The text campaign shows why Rayes left the Conservative Party of Canada, he said, as he doesn’t see his values reflected by the party.

“Now they’re taking money from members of the Conservative Party to ask them to call me. Is that a tactic Poilievre supports?” said Rayes.

“What it tells my colleagues is that if they don’t fall in line with their tails tucked between their legs, you’re out and you’re not a real Conservative.”

Charlesbourg–Haute-Saint-Charles MP Pierre Paul-Hus, who was named Poilievre’s new Quebec lieutenant Tuesday, said the situation is delicate and he “doesn’t want to wage war” with someone he worked with for seven years.

But he said Rayes’s departure sparked anger within the party.

“It’s normal,” Paul-Hus told Radio-Canada. “It shakes up the party.”

“But what we want is to have the focus on our main mission, which is to fight Justin Trudeau, inflation and flagrant economic problems we have.”

The Conservative Party of Canada apologized in a tweet Wednesday night for “an automated text message sent out earlier today to party members in the riding of Richmond-Arthabaska.”

Poilievre’s office did not respond to CBC’s request for comment at the time of publication.

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