Montreal

Former PQ leader André Boisclair arrested in Quebec City after midnight car crash

The 51-year-old crashed into lamppost, may face charges including impaired driving

CBC News

November 09, 2017

Former Parti Québecois leader André Boisclair was arrested in Quebec City early Thursday morning, according to Radio-Canada sources. (Peter McCabe/Canadian Press)

Former Parti Québécois leader André Boisclair has confirmed he was arrested in Quebec City early Thursday morning after crashing his vehicle into a lamppost.

"I was indeed arrested last night for having driven my car while being under the influence of alcohol," said a post on Boisclair's Facebook page, which was published Thursday evening.

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"I made a big mistake and I am deeply sorry and I will now have to face the consequences," the post went on in French.

"My only consolation is that the situation I caused did not affect anyone else." 

Several charges possible

At the time of the arrest, Quebec City police would not name the suspect but confirmed that a 51-year-old man was detained just after midnight in the Saint-Roch district after crashing his vehicle into a lamppost on St-Joseph Street. 

Police say the suspect refused to take a breathalyzer test and tried to intimidate officers.

André Boisclair was seen leaving Quebec City police headquarters early Thursday afternoon. (Radio-Canada)

Charges could include:

Shortly before noon Thursday, Boisclair was seen leaving Quebec City police headquarters.

He was released with a promise to appear in court on Feb. 15, 2018.

Reactions at National Assembly

Several of Boisclair's former colleagues at the National Assembly refused to comment on his arrest.

Others were cautious. PQ MNA Maka Kotto said he didn't know Boisclair very well but was disappointed to hear the news.

Parti Québécois MNA Maka Kotto was elected to the party one year after André Boisclair's departure. (Radio-Canada)

"I don't know what motivated his actions. But I read it as a misfortune that is happening to a human being, not to an ex-politician or an ex-leader of the Parti Québécois," Kotto said.

The Coalition Avenir Québec's Éric Caire said the judicial process has to follow its course.

"Mr. Boisclair, like every other Quebec citizen, must obey the law."

Amir Khadir from Québec Solidaire said it was an unfortunate event but also a private matter.

"It can happen to anyone, but you'd expect better coming from someone who has sat at the National Assembly," Khadir said.

The vehicle crashed into the lamppost behind this fire hydrant on Saint-Joseph street, in Quebec City's Saint-Roch neighbourhood, around 12:30 on Thursday. (Julia Page/CBC)

Political career

​Boisclair was first elected to the National Assembly in 1989 in Montreal's Gouin riding, becoming the youngest MNA in history.

He served as cabinet minister under Quebec premiers Lucien Bouchard and Bernard Landry, and was PQ leader from 2005 to 2007.

In 2005, Boisclair admitted to using cocaine in the 1990s when he was a Quebec provincial cabinet minister. He said at the time that he no longer used drugs.

Boisclair is currently the president and director-general of the Institut de développement urbain du Québec. The institute declined to comment on Boisclair's arrest on Thursday.

With files from Julia Page
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