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André Boisclair

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André Boisclair
Boisclair debating in 2005
Delegate General of Quebec in New York
In office
November 7, 2012 – September 27, 2013
PremierPauline Marois
Preceded byJohn Parisella
Succeeded byDominique Poirier
Leader of the Opposition of Quebec
In office
August 21, 2006 – May 26, 2007
Preceded byLouise Harel
Succeeded byMario Dumont
Leader of the Parti Québécois
In office
November 15, 2005 – May 8, 2007
Preceded byLouise Harel (interim)
Succeeded byFrançois Gendron (interim)
Government House Leader
In office
January 29, 2002 – April 29, 2003
PremierBernard Landry
Preceded byJacques Brassard
Succeeded byJacques Dupuis
Minister of the Environment[a]
In office
March 8, 2001 – April 29, 2003
PremierBernard Landry
Preceded byPaul Bégin
Succeeded byTom Mulcair
Minister of Social Solidarity
In office
December 15, 1998 – March 8, 2001
PremierLucien Bouchard
Preceded byLouise Harel
Succeeded byJean Rochon
Parliamentary constituencies
Member of the
National Assembly of Quebec
In office
August 14, 2006 – November 15, 2007
Preceded byNicole Léger
Succeeded byNicole Léger
In office
September 25, 1989 – August 17, 2004
Preceded byJacques Rochefort
Succeeded byNicolas Girard
Personal details
Born (1966-04-14) April 14, 1966 (age 58)
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Political partyParti Québécois
Alma materCollège Jean-de-Brébeuf
Université de Montréal
Harvard Kennedy School

André Boisclair (French pronunciation: [ɑ̃dʁe bwaklɛʁ]; born April 14, 1966) is a former Canadian politician and convicted sex offender in Quebec, Canada. He was the leader of the Parti Québécois, a social democratic and sovereigntist party in Quebec.

Between January 1996 and March 2003, Boisclair served as Citizenship and Immigration Minister and Social Solidarity Minister under former Premier of Quebec Lucien Bouchard and as Environment Minister under former Premier Bernard Landry. He won the Parti Québécois leadership election on November 15, 2005.

After the worst defeat of his Party since 1970 in the 2007 Quebec general election, Boisclair announced he was stepping down as leader of the PQ on May 8, 2007.[1] François Gendron was named interim leader.

On June 19, 2022, Boisclair pled guilty to two counts of sexual assault in separate episodes involving two young men. On July 18, 2022, the Quebec Court accepted a joint sentence recommendation from the Crown prosecutor and defence counsel, and imposed a sentence of imprisonment for two years less a day.[2][3]

Early life[edit]

Boisclair was born in Montreal, Quebec. He grew up in the affluent francophone Montreal neighbourhood of Outremont. While attending Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf, a private CEGEP, he became the president of the Federation of Quebec College Students (in French, FECQ). After graduation he attended Université de Montréal, but dropped out after two years.

Political scene 1989–2003[edit]

He joined the Parti Québécois in 1984, and in the 1989 general election he was elected to represent the Montreal-area riding of Gouin as a PQ candidate. At 23 years old, he became the youngest member ever elected to the Quebec National Assembly, a record he held until Simon-Pierre Diamond was elected in 2007. He also quickly garnered a reputation as a party animal in Quebec City's night-life scene.[4]

He served as a cabinet minister from 1998 to 2003, under Parti Québécois (PQ) Premiers Lucien Bouchard and Bernard Landry, holding a variety of high-profile portfolios. During his time in office, Boisclair and his chief of staff, Luc Doray, became the center of a drug and embezzlement scandal. After a routine audit, officials discovered that Doray submitted over $30,000 in false expense reports and authorities later discovered that Doray had used the money to feed his cocaine habit.[5]

Doray pleaded guilty to defrauding the government and during court testimony it was learned that Boisclair authorized some of the expenses.[5] The ensuing investigation cleared Boisclair of any wrongdoing – he was never accused nor charged with any crime.[citation needed] However, in 2005, Boisclair admitted to personally using cocaine between 1996 and 2003 while serving as a member of the Quebec legislature.[6]

Boisclair continued to serve as a Member of the National Assembly until he resigned in August 2004 to attend Harvard Kennedy School at Harvard University. At the time of his resignation, Boisclair held the position of opposition parliamentary (house) leader. Boisclair completed the Master's in Public Administration program at Harvard Kennedy School, a program that does not require students to hold a previous university degree. While at Harvard, Boisclair attended lectures by Michael Ignatieff and kept a blog recording his experience.

Party leadership[edit]

After Bernard Landry resigned in June 2005, Boisclair entered the race to succeed Landry as the PQ's leader. Elected as the sixth leader of the Parti Québécois on November 15, 2005, Boisclair earned 53.8% of the party membership vote as compared to his closest rival, Pauline Marois, who garnered 30.6%. For the first time, the PQ allowed telephone voting, resulting in the participation of over 76% of the party membership. Polls taken at the time of his leadership victory in November 2005 suggested that Boisclair's Parti Québécois would win a landslide victory over the incumbent Liberal Party of Jean Charest.

Boisclair was the first openly gay politician in Canada to win the leadership of a party with legislative representation. (Previous openly gay Canadian political party leaders included Chris Lea of the Green Party of Canada and Allison Brewer of the New Brunswick New Democratic Party.)

After his election as party leader, Boisclair delivered a speech promising a sovereignty referendum within two years of a PQ victory in the next Quebec general election. During a joint press conference with Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe in Montreal on November 20, 2005, Boisclair decried Canada's Clarity Act as unacceptable. He stated that if elected Premier, he would ignore the ruling of the Supreme Court of Canada on referendum question clarity.

Upon taking the reins of the PQ, Boisclair's actions quickly created political controversy within his own party. After a questionable appearance in a comedy sketch featuring a homosexual depiction of Stephen Harper and George W. Bush, and an attempt to distance the PQ from its traditional union base, a push to oust Boisclair developed. Purportedly led by Boisclair's predecessor, Bernard Landry (which he denied), the plan failed and no real threat to Boisclair's leadership emerged. Pundits speculated that the proximity of the Quebec general election contributed to the putsch's failure.

On August 14, 2006, Boisclair was elected to the provincial legislative assembly in a by-election for the Montreal-area riding of Pointe-aux-Trembles. He was re-elected in the general election of March 26, 2007.

2007 election[edit]

In February 2007, Boisclair promised a dream team of high-profile candidates for the anticipated 2007 general election. Comparing his slate to the l'équipe du tonnerre (the thunder team) of former premier and Quiet revolution architect Jean Lesage, Boisclair announced that actor Pierre Curzi, former cabinet member Linda Goupil, TV journalist Bernard Drainville, academic Guy Lachapelle, union leader Marc Laviolette, and former Bloc Québécois MPs Richard Marceau and Yvan Loubier composed this team. On February 21, 2007, the Lieutenant-Governor of Quebec, Lise Thibault, dissolved parliament and called a general election for March 26, 2007.

Boisclair launched his campaign using the slogan "Reconstruisons notre Québec" (Let's rebuild our Quebec). At the beginning of the campaign, Boisclair's Parti Québécois stood five percentage points behind the Quebec Liberals.

Boisclair stated throughout his campaign that education would remain a key priority in the PQ's election strategy and that he would organize a new referendum on sovereignty as soon as possible. He also supported new measures targeting home ownership for young families.

During the election campaign, controversy arose when radio talk show host Louis Champagne made homophobic remarks while interviewing Parti Québécois candidate Alexandre Cloutier, asking him if the fact that his party was led by a gay man — and was running an openly gay candidate, Sylvain Gaudreault, in the neighbouring riding to Cloutier's — meant that voters would believe the Parti Québécois was "a club of fags".[7] Days later, the radio station's corporate owner, the Corus Group, suspended Champagne.

Most observers ruled the 2007 leaders' debate a draw. Critics felt that Boisclair appeared the most aggressive, repeatedly asking the Action démocratique du Québec's (ADQ) Mario Dumont to state the financial model of his political platform.

Election night produced a major disappointment for the Parti Québécois. The party polled its smallest share of the popular vote since 1973 and the PQ came third in seat numbers in the National Assembly - losing Official Opposition status. The 2007 election left Quebec with its first minority government since 1878. Although Boisclair's future as the leader of Parti Québécois appeared uncertain, he claimed on the day after the election that he had no plans of stepping down (however, he resigned six weeks later).

Apart from the Champagne incident, the election campaign was not marked by any other open expressions of homophobia. However, at least one prominent political journalist in Quebec, The Gazette's Don Macpherson, has asserted that some other criticism of Boisclair — particularly a persistent notion among some voters that he was too cosmopolitan and "Montréalais" — may in fact have been code for lingering voter discomfort with the idea of electing an openly gay premier.[8]

Resignation as PQ Leader[edit]

André Boisclair announced his resignation as Parti Québécois leader on May 8, 2007, the same day Quebec's National Assembly resumed sitting after the 2007 general election. The announcement came as a shock to many Parti Québécois caucus members, some of whom expressed "sadness" at the decision.[9]

Boisclair's leadership was questioned immediately after the election and petitions for a motion of confidence within the party came far and wide from regional PQ presidents and major sovereigntist groups.

Boisclair's resignation followed a dispute with Gilles Duceppe, leader of the Bloc Québécois, the sovereigntist party on the federal scene. In an interview with Radio-Canada, Boisclair had confirmed rumours that Duceppe had been scheming for his post. Duceppe denied these rumours but many political observers still believed Boisclair had gone too far in this denunciation.[10]

Boisclair remained the MNA for Pointe-aux-Trembles, but on October 15, 2007, he announced he was resigning from his seat and quitting politics on November 15, 2007. He also accused leader Bernard Landry of undermining his support as party head by referring to the PQ's loss of public support under Boisclair's leadership, and for hinting he wanted to return to the party's leadership himself.[11]

Post-political life[edit]

Boisclair was hired by Questerre, a Calgary-based energy company, in 2011 as a consultant due to his sociopolitical knowledge of Quebec.[12] In September 2012, Boisclair criticized the newly elected PQ government's position on the shale (more commonly known as fracking) industry in Quebec.[13]

In November 2012, he was named as the new provincial delegate-general in New York City.[14] During his time in this office, he was accused of organizing orgies and consuming drugs with young men inside the official residence of the delegation. An official complaint was made and he was sacked "at his request" on September 27, 2013.[15]

In 2018, Boisclair pled guilty to drunk driving, refusing a sobriety test and to obstruction of justice. He was fined $2,000 and forbidden to drive for a year.[16]

He was the President and CEO for the Urban development institute of Québec (UDI) - a non-profit organization focused on Quebec's commercial real estate industry[17] from June 2016 until he resigned amidst allegations of sexual assaults.[18]

Sexual assault convictions[edit]

On May 28, 2020, Boisclair was charged with two counts of sexual assault on an unidentified victim: one charge for committing a sexual assault while carrying, using or threatening to use a weapon, and one charge for being party to a sexual assault with another person. The events are alleged to have occurred in 2014.[19][20] On June 20, 2022, Boisclair pleaded guilty to the charge of being party to a sexual assault, and to a charge of sexual assault in respect of another victim; the charge of armed sexual assault against the first victim was dropped. The Crown prosecutor and the defence counsel made a joint sentencing submission of two years less a day of imprisonment. On July 18, 2022, the Quebec Court accepted the recommendation and imposed a sentence of two years less a day.[21][22][3]

On November 15, 2022, in Montreal, his application for early release was denied on his first parole hearing. In its decision, the province's parole board explained that Boisclair had shown an "arrogant attitude" towards correctional officers and had refused to participate in group therapy for sexual delinquency because of concerns that his words would be leaked to the media. Therefore, the parole board said that Boisclair had not rehabilitated himself and that he was still dangerous. "Considering all the elements in the file, the commission considers that the risk of recidivism that you present is currently unacceptable and that the process must continue within the security context of incarceration," the commission wrote in a summary made public.[23]

On December 2, 2022, his request for parole was again denied.[24]

On March 17, 2023, his parole was granted.[25]

In June 2024, his first victim sued him for $270,000 for the psychological consequences sustained from the armed sexual assault[26].

See also[edit]

Electoral record[edit]

2007 Quebec general election: Pointe-aux-Trembles
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Parti Québécois André Boisclair 13,784 47.30 −2.89
Action démocratique Martin-Karl Bourbonnais 7,708 26.45 +12.20
Liberal Daniel Fournier 5,316 18.24 −14.94
Green Xavier Daxhelet 1,257 4.31 +2.70
Québec solidaire Dominique Ritchot 763 2.62
Bloc Pot Etienne Mallette 154 0.53
Christian Democracy Julien Ferron 116 0.40 −0.08
Marxist–Leninist Geneviève Royer 41 0.14 −0.14
Total valid votes 29,139 98.69
Rejected and declined votes 388 1.31
Turnout 29,527 72.92 −0.62
Electors on the lists 40,495
Source: Official Results, Le Directeur général des élections du Québec.
Quebec provincial by-election, August 14, 2006: Pointe-aux-Trembles
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Parti Québécois André Boisclair 9,077 70.95 +20.76
Green Xavier Daxhelet 1,514 11.83 +10.22
Québec solidaire Dominique Ritchot 1,073 8.39
Independent Benoît Bergeron 609 4.76
Independent Jocelyne Leduc 231 1.81
Independent Jean-Marc Boyer 124 0.97
Bloc Pot Benjamin Kasapoglu 113 0.88
Independent Régent Millette 52 0.41
Total valid votes 12,793 100.00
Rejected and declined votes 315
Turnout 13,108 32.35 −39.95
Electors on the lists 40,516
2003 Quebec general election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Parti Québécois André Boisclair 15,890 53.34 +0.66
Liberal William Aguilar 8,996 30.20 -2.42
Action démocratique Stéphane Deschênes 2,456 8.24 -2.48
UFP Colette Provost 1,397 4.69 -
Green Pierrette Chevalier 584 1.96 -
Bloc Pot Hugô St-Onge 465 1.56 -

1998 Quebec general election: Gouin
Party Candidate Votes %
Parti Québécois André Boisclair (incumbent) 16,097 52.68
Liberal Michelle Daines 10,273 33.62
Action démocratique Patricia St-Jacques 3,276 10.72
Socialist Democracy Geneviève Ricard 624 2.04
Marxist–Leninist Claude Brunelle 149 0.49
Communist Athanasios Ntouskas 75 0.25
Communist League Annette Kouri 61 0.20
Total valid votes 30,555
Rejected and declined votes 450
Turnout 31,005 74.40
Electors on the lists 41,676
Source: Official Results, Le Directeur général des élections du Québec.
1994 Quebec general election: Gouin
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Parti Québécois André Boisclair 17,305 56.42 +5.39
Liberal Athena Efraim 10,944 35.68 -4.80
New Democratic Hans Marotte 1,428 4.66 +2.33
Independent Sylviane Morin 458 1.49
Natural Law Alain-Édouard Lord 263 0.86
Marxist–Leninist Serge Lachapelle 142 0.46 +0.16
Republic of Canada Pierre Aylwin 132 0.43
1989 Quebec general election: Gouin
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Parti Québécois André Boisclair 10,568 51.03 +2.57
Liberal Normand Hamel 8,383 40.48 -4.86
Green Sylvain Auclair 929 4.49
New Democratic Paul Montpetit 482 2.33 -0.54
Workers Gilles Bourque 186 0.90
Marxist–Leninist Michelle Dufort 63 0.30
Communist Denis Gervais 52 0.25
Socialist Movement Yvan Comeau 46 0.22


  1. ^ "Boisclair quitting". 2007-05-08. Archived from the original on 2007-05-25. Retrieved 2007-05-08.
  2. ^ « Former PQ leader André Boisclair pleads guilty to sexual assault in 2 separate cases », CBC/Canadian Press, June 19, 2022.
  3. ^ a b "Ex-PQ leader Andre Boisclair gets jail term for sex assaults", CTV News Montreal, July 18, 2022.
  4. ^ "André Boisclair: the PQ's young star". CBC News. 2005-11-16. Archived from the original on 2007-05-25. Retrieved 2007-05-08.
  5. ^ a b Ha, Tu Thanh; Séguin, Rhéal (November 9, 2005). "Boisclair's skeletons rattle bitter PQ race". Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on April 9, 2023. Retrieved January 1, 2024.
  6. ^ "Marois gives former PQ leader 'job for life'". CBC News. Montreal, Quebec. December 4, 2012. Retrieved January 1, 2023.
  7. ^ "Boisclair responds to homophobic slurs" Archived October 5, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, cbc.ca, March 1, 2007.
  8. ^ Don MacPherson, "The end of an error" Archived May 3, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. The Gazette, October 16, 2007.
  9. ^ "Boisclair resigns as leader of Parti Québécois". CBC News. 2007-05-08. Archived from the original on 2014-04-07. Retrieved 2014-04-02.
  10. ^ "Clouds hang over Boisclair as legislature prepares to sit". CBC News. 2007-05-08. Archived from the original on 2014-04-07. Retrieved 2014-04-02.
  11. ^ "Boisclair leaving politics". The Montreal Gazette. 2007-10-15. Archived from the original on 2012-11-03. Retrieved 2007-10-15.
  12. ^ "Questerre appoints André Boisclair as advisor to Board", questerre.com, September 16, 2011.
  13. ^ "Quebec Fracking Ban? PQ Eyes Banning Shale Gas, Shutting Nuclear Reactor, Ending Asbestos Industry". The Huffington Post Canada. September 20, 2012. Archived from the original on October 5, 2012. Retrieved September 20, 2012.
  14. ^ "Former PQ leader André Boisclair named to New York post" Archived November 10, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. The Gazette, November 7, 2012.
  15. ^ Lachance, Nicolas; Joncas, Hugo; Séguin, Félix; Robillard, Alexandre (June 13, 2020). "Comportement douteux: André Boisclair avait été interrogé à New York". Le Journal de Québec (in French). Retrieved November 18, 2022.
  16. ^ Plante, Caroline (February 15, 2018). "Former PQ leader André Boisclair pleads guilty to drunk driving". Montreal Gazette. Retrieved November 18, 2022.
  17. ^ "About UDI - Urban Development Institute of Québec". UDI - Urban Development Institute of Québec. Archived from the original on 2020-06-10. Retrieved 2020-06-10.
  18. ^ "Andre Boisclair Leaves the Direction of the IDU". Archived from the original on 2020-06-10. Retrieved 2020-06-10.
  19. ^ André Boisclair accusé d’agression sexuelle armée Archived 2022-06-20 at the Wayback Machine, La Presse, May 28, 2020.
  20. ^ Former PQ leader André Boisclair accused of sexual assault with a weapon Archived 2022-03-09 at the Wayback Machine, CBC, May 28, 2020.
  21. ^ La Presse canadienne (20 June 2022). "André Boisclair plaide coupable de deux accusations d'agression sexuelle". Radio-Canada.ca (in Canadian French). Archived from the original on 20 June 2022. Retrieved 20 June 2022.
  22. ^ Perron, Louis-Samuel (20 June 2022). "Accusation d'agression sexuelle | André Boisclair a dirigé un viol collectif". La Presse (in French). Archived from the original on 20 June 2022. Retrieved 20 June 2022.
  23. ^ Banerjee, Sidhartha (November 16, 2022). "Former PQ leader and sex offender André Boisclair denied parole". CBC.ca. Retrieved November 17, 2022.
  24. ^ Saillant, Nicolas (December 2, 2022). "André Boisclair reste encore en prison: sa libération conditionnelle refusée une nouvelle fois". Le Journal de Montréal (in French). Retrieved December 2, 2022.
  25. ^ Saint-Arnaud, Pierre (March 15, 2023). "André Boisclair, former Parti Québécois leader and sex offender, granted parole". CityNews Kitchener. Retrieved 2023-03-15.
  26. ^ Saint-Arnaud, Pierre (2024-06-13). "Une des victimes d'agression sexuelle d'André Boisclair le poursuit pour 270 000 $". La Presse (in Canadian French). Retrieved 2024-07-02.
  1. ^ Office known as "Minister of State for the Environment and Water" from 2001 to 2002 and "Minister of State for Municipal and Metropolitan Affairs, Environment and Water" from 2002 to 2003.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by Official Opposition House Leader
Succeeded by
Preceded by Leader of the Opposition (Quebec)
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Louise Harel
Leader of the Parti Québécois
Succeeded by