'Je suis en réserve de la République,' Pierre Karl Péladeau says of possible return to PQ

With the Parti Québécois sinking in the polls and the Oct. 1 provincial election looming, the media baron and former PQ leader hinted at the possibility of a political comeback in an interview Tuesday.

As party he briefly led flounders, media baron mulls comeback ahead of Oct. 1 election

Quebecor President and CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau quit provincial politics in May 2016. (Graham Hughes/Canadian Press)

Pierre Karl Péladeau isn't ruling out a return to the political stage in 2018.

The media baron and former leader of the Parti Québécois left wide open the possibility of a return ahead of the Oct. 1 election in an interview Tuesday.

"Je suis en réserve de la République," he said in an interview with Radio-Canada's Catherine Perrin on Médium Large.

The expression, loosely translated, means he's prepared to help the PQ if needed.

Social media presence fuels speculation

In the wide-ranging, 30-minute interview, Péladeau reflected on his first foray into provincial politics, his relationship with the media and his ownership of Québecor, and his increasingly active presence on social media.

His posts, many of which have been critical of the ruling Liberals, have helped fuel rumours of a possible return.

"I'm still a member of the Parti Québécois, and I will never quit the party," he said.

"I leave it to my former colleagues to do the political work on the ground and the parliamentary work that goes along with it."

Péladeau quit politics in May 2016, less than a year after being elected PQ leader, citing the custody dispute with his estranged wife, Julie Snyder.

That has since been resolved, and his daughter has encouraged him to return to politics, he said.

"I don't know if I will follow her advice," he said.

PKP return would be welcomed by Lisée

Péladeau's comments come as the PQ continues to sink in the polls under current leader Jean-François Lisée, who said he would be "overjoyed" by a Péladeau reappearance.

"Of course, I would like someone so strong, determined, with such strong economic experience on my team," Lisée said, speaking at a news conference in Trois-Rivières today.

"I have told him, he knows."

In the most recent survey, released this week by Mainstreet Research, the separatist party ranked a distant third, with 18 per cent support, behind both the Liberals and the Coalition Avenir Québec, which are virtually neck and neck, with 31 per cent and 32 per cent support, respectively.

A return to the party by Péladeau could be threatening to Lisée's leadership, but the party leader said he doesn't think having a former leader on his team would be an issue for the PQ.

The current leader Jean-François Lisée said he would be 'overjoyed' by a return to the party by Pierre Karl Péladeau. (CBC)

"I know that I have, in my strong team as it is, people who rightly believe they can become chief," Lisée said. "And I want more. I want a strongest possible team."

The PQ caucus meeting gets underway tomorrow.

With files from Steve Rukavina and Angelica Montgomery


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