Alain Rayes, pulling the plug on politics

Alain Rayes, pulling the plug on politics

By Nick Fonda

Local Journalism Inititaive


Early this week, Alain Rayes, who sits as an independent Member of House of Commons for the riding of Richmond-Arthabaska, announced that he will be retiring from politics at the end of the current mandate.

“There were a lot of phone calls to my riding office,” he says.  “I did over two dozen media interviews, about as many as I did when I left the Conservative caucus at this time last year.  We had more requests than we could accommodate.”

“I suppose that I drew media attention because my story is a little different,” he explains.  “I enjoyed a certain popularity even though the party I was with for seven years wasn’t generally liked.  I always acted in accordance with my own values and convictions.  I was told by a political reporter the other day that he found me refreshing because my interviews were never a short set of talking points but a real conversation.”

Alain Rayes’ story is a little different.  Unlike many politicians, he was neither in law nor in business before entering politics.  As a 22-year-old armed with a teaching degree in math and computer science from the Université de Québec à Montréal, he embarked on a classroom career in both elementary and high schools.   He obtained a Master’s in Education at the Université de Sherbrooke and became a school principal in charge, for several years, of the fourth largest high school in Quebec, Victoriaville’s Le Tandem Boisé, which had a student body of 2,500 along with 350 employees.

He took his first foray into politics at the age of 31 when he ran, unsuccessfully, in a provincial election under the banner of Mario Dumont’s Action démocratique du Québec.  Seven years later, in 2009, he was elected mayor of Victoriaville, a post he gave up in 2015 to run—and win—as a Conservative in a federal election that was swept by Justin Trudeau’s Liberals.

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