André Boisclair to temporarily resign in order to fight allegations
PQ Leader Andre Boisclair makes a point on March 4, 2007 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Published Friday, September 27, 2013 9:08PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, September 27, 2013 10:30PM EDT
MONTREAL -- Former PQ leader André Boisclair has asked to be temporarily relieved of his duties as Quebec delegate-general to New York in order to counter recent allegations made about him by the CAQ.
He will continue to receive his salary but he’ll pay his own legal fees - if he incurs any - according to Premier Pauline Marois’ Press Secretary Marie Barrette, who confirmed Friday night that Boisclair made the official request.
Boisclair is scheduled to meet reporters in Montreal on Monday.
Earlier Friday, Marois had offered lukewarm support when asked whether she still had confidence in him.
"Mr. Boisclair is a responsible man," Marois told a news conference in La Malbaie, Que., on Friday. "I am certain he will know to make the decisions that need to be made at the appropriate time."
That choice of words was similar to what Marois said about former Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay last year, before he resigned in scandal. Tremblay has since cited Marois' comments as the moment he knew he needed to quit, because the provincial government was forcing him out.
A former construction boss has testified at the Charbonneau Commission into Quebec's construction industry that Boisclair authorized a $2.5-million subsidy in 2003 for a project involving a company that had ties to the Hells Angels.
Boisclair was a PQ cabinet minister when he gave the green light to the subsidy just days before a provincial election won by the Liberals.
CAQ MNA Jacques Duchesneau drew links this week between the criminal organization and the fact Boisclair has admitted to using cocaine before.
He made dark suggestions that Boisclair's drug use might have left him at the mercy of the criminal group and made him feel pressure to offer the contract.
Given that Duchesneau was a former police investigator and head of the provincial anti-collusion unit, that left Quebecers wondering whether he actually knew something about Boisclair -- or whether he was engaging in a smear job.
Duchesneau has played coy, declining to say whether he holds any incriminating information.
Boisclair then threatened Duchesneau with legal action if he didn't retract his comments. Duchesneau in turn said he had no intention of withdrawing the remarks.
-With a file from The Canadian Press