Former PQ leader André Boisclair pleads guilty to impaired driving

Former Parti Québécois leader André Boisclair pleaded guilty Thursday morning to one charge of impaired driving. Boisclair was arrested in November after crashing his car into a lamppost.

Boisclair must pay $2,000 fine, forbidden to drive for a year

Former Parti Québécois leader André Boisclair was sentenced to pay a $2,000 fine and cannot drive a vehicle for one year, after pleading guilty to impaired driving. (Radio-Canada)

Former Parti Québécois leader André Boisclair will pay a $2,000 fine and won't be allowed to drive a vehicle for one year, after pleading guilty on Thursday to a charge of impaired driving.

Boisclair was arrested just after midnight on Nov. 9, 2017, after he crashed his car into a lamppost on St-Joseph Street, in Quebec City's Saint-Roch neighbourhood.

Boisclair also pleaded guilty to refusing to take a breathalyzer test after his arrest.

The 51-year-old gave a brief statement as he left the courtroom.

"Today, I take responsibility for my actions," he said.

"I am above all relieved ... that no one else is having to facing any consequences for the mistake I made."

Absolute discharge

Boisclair received an absolute discharge for obstruction of justice, which the Crown had filed after his arrest.

Quebec City police said at the time that Boisclair had intimidated the officers who made the arrest, threatening to file a complaint to the police ethics board.
André Boisclair crashed his car into the lamppost on Saint-Joseph street, in Quebec City's Saint-Roch neighbourhood during the night of Nov. 8, 2017. (Julia Page/CBC)

The Crown prosecutor, Jean-Philippe Robitaille, said Boisclair did not benefit from preferential treatment. He said citizens who don't have criminal records often receive an absolute discharge.

"These words were probably uttered while under the influence and did not carry any consequences," Robitaille said.

The prosecutor did caution against using the expression "lack of judgment."

Several of Boisclair's former colleagues at the National Assembly had used the expression when news of his arrest broke last fall. Others said it could happen to anyone.

Robitaille said it's important that impaired driving be seen as an act of negligence, because of the dangerous implications it carries.

Ex-PQ leader's background

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

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

Boisclair is now the president and director-general of the Institut de développement urbain du Québec. 

With files from Radio-Canada's Yannick Bergeron