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Former Tory appointee to seek Bloc leadership

Daniel Paille, centre, wih Gilles Duceppe (left) and Parti Quebecois MLA Louise Beaudoin, walking at the May Day parade Sunday, May 1, 2011 in Montreal.

Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press/Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press

A man appointed by the Harper government as a public-contracts watchdog is about to announce his bid for the leadership of the Bloc Quebecois, sources say.

Daniel Paille, who was more recently a Bloc MP and the party's finance critic, will make the announcement Tuesday evening at a bistro in east-end Montreal.

Mr. Paille was a provincial cabinet minister in the 1990s under the Parti Quebecois. He made his return to the public spotlight working for the Harper Conservatives.

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Soon after the Tories took office, in 2007, they hired Mr. Paille as an independent investigator to look into contracts handed out by the previous Liberal government.

Mr. Paille was asked to consider whether there should be a public inquiry into the Liberals' contracts for public-opinion polling.

The move did not work out exactly as planned. Mr. Paille concluded that not only should there not be an inquiry into the past government, he accused the current one of spending an "astounding" sum on polls.

Mr. Paille then became involved in the Bloc Quebecois and was elected in a 2009 by-election, before losing his seat this past spring.

He would become the third candidate in the race, after Jean-Francois Fortin and Maria Mourani.

The party had been dominant under long-time leader Gilles Duceppe until its sudden, near-total wipeout in the May 2 election.

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