Ex-Quebecor CEO Peladeau to Run for Parti Quebecois

Updated on

Former Quebecor Inc. Chief Executive Officer Pierre Karl Peladeau joined the race to become leader of the separatist Parti Quebecois and reaffirmed his goal of splitting from Canada.

Peladeau, 53, confirmed his bid during a speech at the University of Montreal today that was televised by Ici Radio-Canada television. He later picked up his nomination ballot at party headquarters in Montreal. Voting is scheduled to take place in May.

“Today I have come to the conclusion that after meeting with militants, the time had come for me” to run, Peladeau told reporters after his speech. “I will be a leader who brings people together, a leader who will achieve sovereignty.”

The long-time executive and heir of a media empire founded by his late father Pierre, was elected in the April vote that swept the Parti Quebecois from power and left it leaderless. Peladeau stepped down in March after 14 years as CEO and later vice chairman of Quebecor, which runs the Videotron cable and wireless unit and the TVA group of television channels.

Even as he builds a career in politics, Peladeau remains the majority owner of Quebecor. He said today he would stick to a commitment to put his shares in a trust if elected leader.

Separation Goal

Sovereignty will be the main theme of Peladeau’s campaign, the candidate said.

“I entered politics for sovereignty, and that’s what I intend to do,” he told reporters at Parti Quebecois headquarters. “It’s my objective, my only objective.”

Peladeau declined to spell out his intentions regarding a possible referendum on independence, saying he plans to elaborate on his position during the campaign.

Having Peladeau as leader would have allowed the Parti Quebecois to return to power if an election had been held earlier this month, according to a Leger Marketing poll published Nov. 15 by Montreal’s Le Devoir newspaper.

Thirty-six percent of respondents said they would have voted for the separatists with Peladeau in charge, compared with 30 percent for the Liberal Party of current Premier Philippe Couillard and 19 percent for the Coalition Avenir Québec.

No other leadership candidate can match the former Quebecor CEO’s popularity, the Leger poll showed. Peladeau’s rivals for the job include former Natural Resources Minister Martine Ouellet, former international relations minister Jean-Francois Lisée, and Bernard Drainville, the former minister responsible for democratic institutions.

Thanks to their April 7 election win, Couillard’s Liberals are assured of staying in power until at least 2018.