Ottawa MPP Marie-France Lalonde seeks federal seat after Leslie retires

OTTAWA — Ontario Liberal politician Marie-France Lalonde wants to run for Parliament to replace retired general Andrew Leslie in the Ottawa riding he's vacating after just one term.

Lalonde announced her intention to run federally Monday, saying she's giving up thoughts of seeking the leadership of the Ontario Liberals because she wants to focus on her east-Ottawa community.

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Leslie was a top-tier adviser to Justin Trudeau in the lead-up to the 2015 election, bringing decades of military experience and gravitas to the then third-place Liberals on defence and foreign policy.

But he never made it into Trudeau's cabinet and announced two weeks ago that he wouldn't run for a second term.

Lalonde is a former social worker and retirement-home operator who became a cabinet minister in former premier Kathleen Wynne's government as a rookie MPP.

She was re-elected comfortably in the Ontario election a year ago that saw the Liberals reduced to a rump of seven members at Queen's Park, without enough seats to qualify as a party in the legislature.

The area both Leslie and Lalonde represent, Orleans, is a suburban swing riding that's elected both Liberals and Conservatives. It's known for its large population of public servants, military members and veterans.

"I am asking the people of Orleans to put their faith in me again," Lalonde said. "The federal government is a major employer in our riding, and I want to fight for Orleans and deal with issues that matter to us — as employees, as citizens, for growth, for jobs, and for a prosperous community."

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