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Canadian astronaut joins race to lead Liberal Party

MONTREAL -- Former astronaut Marc Garneau announced his candidacy for the leadership of Canada's once-mighty Liberal Party on Wednesday, vowing to take on the ruling Tories on the economy.

The first Canadian in space, who flew three times aboard the space shuttle and later went on to head the Canadian Space Agency before entering politics, promised to focus the party on the economy.

“If the Liberal Party is to become the choice for Canadians again, it will be because we are strong on their single most important issue of concern: the economy,” he told a press conference in Montreal.

First elected to parliament in 2008, Garneau, has served as Liberal House Leader and the party's lead campaigner on natural resources, industry, science and technology.

At 63, he must beat frontrunner Justin Trudeau, son of Canada's most famous prime minister, Pierre Trudeau, to win the Liberal leadership.

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