Conservative member of Parliament Alain Rayes rises during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021. Rayes, who supported Jean Charest in the Conservative leadership race, announced Tuesday that he would sit as an Independent. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Text message campaign targets Quebec MP Alain Rayes, who left Conservative party

A member of Parliament who quit the Conservative caucus says Pierre Poilievre’s office sent a text message to party members in his Quebec riding asking them to encourage him to resign.

Alain Rayes, who supported former Quebec premier Jean Charest in the Conservative leadership race, left Tuesday to sit as an Independent, saying that the party’s path under Poilievre is not compatible with his “political ideals, values and convictions.”

The text message seen by The Canadian Press says that Rayes has decided not to fight inflation with Poilievre’s team and encourages recipients to call the MP’s office and tell him to resign.

Rayes, who represents the Richmond-Arthabaska riding east of Montreal, says he has no plan to resign and that the text message campaign is an attempt to intimidate other Conservative MPs.

When asked about the prominent MP’s departure on Tuesday, Poilievre had delivered a similar message about Rayes deciding not to fight inflation, which he blames on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

In a tweet late Wednesday night, the Conservative Party said it “apologizes for an automated text message” sent earlier in the day to party members in the riding.

Poilievre’s office, as well as the office of his Quebec lieutenant Pierre-Paul Hus, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday afternoon.

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