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Quebecor’s Pierre Karl Peladeau Becomes PQ Candidate – Billionaire Businessman has Strong Ties to Cycling

by John Symon

March 11, 2014 (St Jerome, QC) – Quebec is in the midst of a provincial election campaign and this past weekend Parti Québécois (PQ) leader, Pauline Marois, presented her star candidate for the St-Jerome riding: Pierre Karl Peladeau. Named in 2013 to chair Hydro Quebec, Peladeau is also the biggest shareholder of the Quebecor media empire which controls Sun Media and Quebecor Media Inc (QMI) Agency. He is commonly described as “a billionaire” and his candidacy for the separatist PQ has caused much controversy.

Peladeau’s candidacy gives Marois much credibility in the business community, but may cost the PQ votes among trade union circles where the businessman is not supported. Journalists have also questioned Peladeau’s level of control over the Quebec media. Opposition leaders meanwhile have demanded that Peladeau sell his Quebecor shares.

Opinion polls suggest that the PQ could win a majority government on April 7 and this is widely expected to set the stage for another referendum on Quebec’s independence from Canada. A PQ majority is also likely to trigger another exodus of anglophones and allophones from Quebec according to polls done for CBC. Peladeau is seen as a potential key player in a future PQ government; some rumours suggest that he will eventually replace Marois as premier of Quebec.

Peladeau is also known as a cyclist and as an important financial backer of cycling. Quebecor sponsors the Garneau-Quebecor UCI continental men’s road team and is also an official media partner of La Québécoise and La Montréalaise cyclosportive events organized around the GP Cycliste Quebec and Montreal WorldTour races in September. The company also sponsors the Granfondo Garneau-Cascades between Quebec City and Trois Rivieres in August and in May of 2013 Quebecor acquired Gestev, organizers of the renowned Mont Ste-Anne World Cups and other top level events in the Québec City region.

Peladeau, 53, holds degrees in philosophy and in law. He not only gives corporate support to cycling, but in 2012 joined Ironman Pierre Lavoie for 410km of a 1,000km charity ride over 72 hours and apparently is in pretty good shape.

DISCLAIMER: the author is a candidate for the Green Party of Quebec (PVQ) in the April 7 Quebec election.

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