Media baron running for PQ
SAINT-JEROME, Que.—Media baron Pierre Karl Peladeau shook up the Quebec election campaign yesterday, announcing he’s decided to run for the Parti Quebecois.
Flanked by PQ leader Pauline Marois, Peladeau told a news conference he’s worked for 25 years to build up Quebecor Media Inc. and now wants to devote himself to public service.
“Quebec has all the means to succeed,” Peladeau said to cheers from the party faithful in Saint-Jerome, north of Montreal, where he will run for a seat in the April 7 election.
“We have financial resources, we have human resources, we have natural resources,” he noted.
“We’ve got everything [we need] for a country to be alive and kicking.”
Peladeau’s decision to run for the PQ represents a major coup for Marois as the party has tried to erase doubts about its ability to manage the economy.
Marois said Peladeau will bring a valuable perspective to the PQ.
“He is a sovereigntist, he is a person that has great experience in business, and I’ve convinced him to work with me and my team for the progress of the economy of Quebec and the progress of Quebec,” the PQ leader said.
The Saint-Jerome riding is seen to be up for grabs after Jacques Duchesneau, well-known for his anti-corruption work, decided not to run again for Francois Legault’s Coalition party.
Peladeau rejected suggestions his entry into politics could represent a conflict of interest, given his powerful presence in the province’s media landscape.
Quebecor, founded by Peladeau’s father, has a number of holdings in Quebec, including the tabloid newspaper Journal de Montreal, the French-language TVA television network, and Videotron.
It also owns the Sun tabloids and the Sun News Network in English Canada—a right-wing television station known for its anti-separatist stance.
Peladeau said he resigned yesterday morning as vice-chairman of the conglomerate.
While he’ll retain his ownership stake, Peladeau said his media outlets will be independent in their coverage and he will place his investments in a blind trust.
“All the editorial management functions have been independent in Quebecor forever, from the Journal de Montreal to TVA,” he noted.
Peladeau said Sun News and his other media holdings can “say whatever they want” about the PQ and the push for an independent Quebec.
“It’s their own opinion,” he said. “This is what the media is all about.”