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Quebec Public Security Minister Jacques Dupuis is the latest thorn in Premier Jean Charest's side. (Jacques Boissnot/The Canadian Press)
Quebec Public Security Minister Jacques Dupuis is the latest thorn in Premier Jean Charest's side. (Jacques Boissnot/The Canadian Press)

Top Ignatieff aide to return to provincial politics Add to ...

A top aide to Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff is returning to provincial politics where he appears poised to become a senior minister in the Quebec government.

Jean-Marc Fournier already served in the Charest cabinet until 2008, but more recently was a senior official in the Opposition Leader's Office in Ottawa.

Sources close to Mr. Ignatieff say Mr. Fournier is leaving on excellent terms and will be sorely missed. They say he was invited by Premier Jean Charest to take a run in a vacant seat.

They also note at least one silver lining in losing a senior official: that they gain a close friend in the Quebec cabinet.

Mr. Fournier will run in a safe Montreal-area Liberal riding being vacated by one of the pillars of the Charest government.

Public Security Minister Jacques Dupuis, the government House leader and trusted ally of Charest, announced Monday that he is quitting politics.

Mr. Dupuis, 61, has held a number of high-profile portfolios since his arrival in Quebec City including deputy premier, justice minister and intergovernmental affairs minister.

The premier, standing between both men at a news conference, choked up when discussing the departure of Dupuis.

"This touches me personally because he is a friend," Premier Charest said.

Mr. Dupuis' resignation leaves the door open to a cabinet shuffle that has been rumoured since June.

He handled a number of key files, including gun-control legislation adopted in the wake of the 2006 Dawson College shootings.

But he has come under fire in recent years - first over the handling of a public inquiry into the shooting of a Montreal teen in 2008; then he was linked to Luigi Coretti, a bankrupted security firm owner with controversial ties to the government.

The Charest government has been battered by scandals over questionable fundraising practices and allegations of influence-peddling.

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