Parti Quebecois Leader Peladeau Steps Down for Family Reasons

Former Quebecor Inc. Chief Executive Officer Pierre Karl Peladeau is stepping down as leader of the Parti Quebecois after less than a year and is exiting Canadian politics altogether, citing personal reasons.

“I am facing an absence of alternatives that is forcing me to make a heartbreaking choice between my family and my political project, our political project,” a tearful Peladeau told reporters Monday at party headquarters in Montreal.

“I have chosen my family. I am therefore announcing -- regretfully -- that I am immediately abandoning my functions of leader of the Parti Quebecois, leader of the opposition” and member of the provincial legislature, he said.

The 54-year-old Peladeau, who remains Quebecor’s majority owner, was elected leader of the separatist party in May 2015. He stepped down from the company in 2014, revealed his political leanings and ran in provincial elections in which the party was trounced, garnering its lowest support in 44 years.

Peladeau and his wife, television host and producer Julie Snyder, said in January they were planning to divorce. They have two children. “I am taking this decision for the good of my children,” Peladeau said Monday. “I must remain an example for them.”

Quebec’s next election is unlikely to take place before 2018, with the Liberal Party government of Premier Philippe Couillard holding a majority of seats in the legislature.

“I’m profoundly saddened because he is a man of great talent,” former Quebec Premier Pauline Marois, who Peladeau replaced as PQ leader, told RDI television in a telephone interview. ’“He brought a lot to the party. Nobody saw this coming.”

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