MONTREAL — Former Parti Quebecois leader Andre Boisclair turned himself in at an east-end Montreal police station Friday after a warrant was issued for his arrest on sexual assault charges.
Boisclair, 54, who was PQ leader from 2005 to 2007, emerged from the police station around 11:15 a.m. and declined to speak with reporters. News reports said he arrived at the station at around 8 a.m.
A May 27 arrest warrant signed by a Quebec Court judge cites two sexual assault charges regarding events that allegedly occurred on or around Jan. 8, 2014 in Montreal.
The first count alleges he committed sexual assault “with the participation of another person” and the second alleges he committed sexual assault “with a weapon.”
As is standard, the alleged victim is not named, and the other alleged participant is also unnamed.
Quebec’s prosecutors office did not immediately return a request for information regarding when Boisclair will appear in court.
Neither the PQ, the Liberals, nor the office of Premier Francois Legault wanted to comment on the allegations facing Boisclair.
PQ spokesman Mathieu Lavigne told The Canadian Press, “The file is before the courts, therefore, we will abstain from any commentary.”
The events mentioned in the warrant allegedly occurred about four months after Boisclair had asked to be replaced as Quebec’s delegate general in New York, a position to which he was named in 2012.
In September 2013, Boisclair returned to Quebec to defend himself against allegations made by the opposition Coalition Avenir Quebec, suggesting he had given a subsidy to a company with links to organized crime when he was a minister in 2003.
The accusations were made by former Montreal police chief Jacques Duchesneau, who was then a member of the Coalition party.
Boisclair sued Duchesneau for libel and the matter was settled out of court. Duchesneau recanted his accusation and apologized publicly for any harm done to Boisclair’s reputation. Boisclair never returned to his New York post.
On Dec. 4, 2013, Boisclair was named president of a committee that reviews resource projects in Quebec’s northern Cree territory. He was also named as a special adviser to the environment minister in the 2014 Liberal government of Philippe Couillard.
Since June 2016, he has been president of the Urban Development Institute of Quebec. The institute confirmed Thursday that he has submitted his resignation.
Boisclair was elected for the first time in the Montreal riding of Gouin in 1989, when we was just 23. He became the first openly gay leader of a Canadian political party in 2005. Boisclair led the PQ in the 2007 election to a disappointing third-place result and resigned as leader.
He caused a controversy during the PQ leadership race when he admitted to using cocaine as late as 1997 or 1998, when he was a young cabinet minister.
Boisclair was also fined $2,000 and forbidden to drive a motor vehicle for a year after being convicted in 2018 of impaired driving in Quebec City.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 29, 2020.
Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press