Ontario MP Leona Alleslev quits the Liberals to join the Conservatives

Ontario MP Leona Alleslev quits the Liberals to join the Conservatives

Ontario Liberal MP Leona Alleslev made the stunning announcement - which had apparently been in the works for weeks - just before question period, striding across the House of Commons to roaring applause from the opposite bench. "Have the courage to do what is right, not what is easy".

A legislator from Canada's ruling Liberals unexpectedly defected to the main opposition party on Monday, dealing a blow to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a year before the next federal election.

Alleslev, a former officer with the Canadian Air Force, won her seat in Parliament by a narrow margin in 2015, edging past her Conservative challenger by slightly more than 1,000 votes. As an MP, she has sat on the immigration and defence committees and served as chair of the Canadian NATO Parliamentary Association. She had a more impressive resume than Trudeau owned prior to becoming PM.

Trudeau and his cabinet ministers have learned the consequences of not listening to backbench MPs, particularly previous year when a large number vented frustrations from constituents about proposed changes to small business taxes.

Alleslev called the Liberal riding team an "honourable and committed" group of volunteers, but added she hopes they were working for her because "they truly believed I was the best person to represent them in Ottawa". She told reporters that she had been considering the move for a while, but her decision wasn't based on any one issue, listing tax reform, foreign policy, defence and security as her key concerns.

"Purchasing used CF-18s from the Australians will not give us capability, will be cost prohibitive, and frankly, humiliating when we should be reassuring our allies in a time of unprecedented global instability".

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Alleslev argues the Trudeau government must be openly and publicly challenged, but to do that she must join the Andrew Scheer's Conservatives.

"Here at home, we see large amounts of capital investment leaving Canada while tax structures, federal infrastructure problems and politics prevent us from getting goods to market, deter companies from expanding, and undermine competitiveness", she said, adding that "Canada faces a flawless storm of serious challenges at home and overseas".

"We must recognize that foreign policy, trade, defence and our economy all depend on each other, and can not be viewed separately", Alleslev said to reporters outside the house.

She did not clarify what, if any, further paths were pursued before crossing the floor.

"Canadians need a government that delivers real action on things that matter", she said. We are seeing fundamental shifts in the global economy, while trade relationships, worldwide agreements, and defence structures are under threat.

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