MONTREAL – Former Parti Quebecois leader Andre Boisclair is seeking $200,000 in damages after a member of the legislature said there could be a link between a government subsidy and Boisclair’s past cocaine use.
Boisclair has named the Coalition party, its leader Francois Legault and the member who made the comments, Jacques Duchesneau.
A former construction boss alleged at Quebec’s corruption inquiry in September that Boisclair authorized a $2.5-million subsidy in 2003 for a project involving a company, LM Sauve, that had ties to the Hells Angels.
That led Duchesneau to wonder aloud whether there was a possible connection between Boisclair’s past drug use and the granting of the subsidy just before a provincial election won by the Liberals. Boisclair was PQ municipal affairs minister at the time.
Boisclair is seeking $100,000 in moral damages and another $100,000 for the “unlawful and intentional” violation of his fundamental rights.
Boisclair became PQ leader in 2005 and admitted that year to having used cocaine while he was in cabinet. He left politics after losing the 2007 election and was named Quebec’s official representative in New York City last year.
He asked to be temporarily relieved of his diplomatic duties in order to fight the allegations.
Boisclair is also calling on the Coalition party to retract the comments in writing with an apology to be published in all media that mentioned or republished Duchesneau’s comments.
“The words and actions of the defendants and their collateral effects have caused and continue to cause significant damage to Mr. Boisclair,” the statement of claim reads.
Duchesneau, a former Montreal police chief and a government-appointed anti-collusion director in the province’s Transport Department, has not apologized.