Quebecor’s Vice Chairman Peladeau Resigns for Political Bid

Pierre Karl Peladeau has resigned as vice chairman and board member from Quebecor Inc., the Montreal-based publisher of newspapers, websites and television networks, to run as a Parti Quebecois candidate in next month’s provincial election.

Peladeau stepped down today and will place his financial interests in the corporation in a blind trust or under a blind management agreement if he is elected to Quebec’s National Assembly on April 7, according to a company statement. Peladeau will “no longer take part in any decisions” regarding the company’s daily or strategic management, the statement said.

Peladeau, who also quit the boards of Quebecor Media Inc. and TVA Group Inc., will run for the separatist Parti Quebecois in the electoral district of Saint-Jerome, Quebec. Led by Premier Pauline Marois, the party advocates independence from Canada for the largely French-speaking province.

“I am extremely proud to join the ranks of the Parti Quebecois,” Peladeau, 52, said today at a televised campaign meeting in the city of Saint-Jerome, about 60 kilometers (36 miles) north of Montreal. “I want to work to ensure our national prosperity and that of Quebec’s families. Joining the Parti Quebecois is rooted in my deepest and most intimate values -- that is, making Quebec a country,” he said, sparking applause and chants of “We want a country” among the crowd.

Labour Record

The Quebec Federation of Labour, the province’s largest union, warned the Parti Quebecois that the new recruit “won’t be a positive asset” for the party. In previous elections, the union -- which has more than 500,000 members -- has traditionally backed the separatists for their pro-labor policies.

“Mr. Peladeau’s track record in terms of labor relations is a catastrophe for the workers of Quebec,” the union said in a French-language statement today. “He is probably one of the worst employers that Quebec has known,” the union said, citing the multiple lockouts that Quebecor experienced under Peladeau’s leadership.

Labor disputes in the past decade at Quebecor Media, the company’s newspaper and broadcasting arm, have included lockouts at Journal de Montreal and Journal de Quebec, two of the province’s most widely read dailies. Quebecor’s Videotron cable unit also locked out technicians, office workers and call-center employees in 2002.

Peladeau’s announcement comes four days after Premier Pauline Marois called an election. Polls show Marois’s separatist Parti Quebecois may have enough support to form its first majority government in more than a decade.

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