Quebecor chief executive Pierre Karl Peladeau waits to start the company's annual meeting Wednesday, May 8, 2013 in Montreal. Peladeau is stepping down and will be replaced by Robert Depatie. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz Ryan Remiorz/CP
The Parti Québécois's new star candidate, Pierre Karl Péladeau, says he will not sell his media holdings, even if he is elected and named to cabinet.
The PQ has come under fire since it was confirmed on Sunday that Péladeau would be running as the party's candidate in the Saint-Jérôme riding.
Earlier today, Péladeau said nothing would change his mind about selling his holdings, but late this afternoon he issued a statement that said he would abide by any ruling from the ethics commissioner.
Until he announcement his political ambitions, Péladeau was the vice-president of Quebecor Inc., as well as the president of Quebecor Media and Groupe TVA.
He still holds 28 per cent of Quebecor Inc.'s shares as well as a controlling stake in Quebecor media's voting rights — 74 per cent. Péladeau said, if he's elected, he would put his shares in a blind trust.
Quebecor Media owns several media properties including the French newspaper Journal de Montréal, Sun Media, the TVA television network and wireless and cable provider Vidéotron.
Critics say the media mogul has too much control over the press and would have an unfair advantage.
Quebec Liberal Party Leader Philippe Couillard said Péladeau should be forced to sell his entire stake in Quebecor if he's elected.
"Just putting them in a blind trust is not sufficient, in my view. It has to be more than that."
Péladeau said it's important for Quebecor to be Quebec-owned, and he's worried about a foreign takeover if he sells his shares. He said a blind trust would guarantee he would have no influence over any editorial or business decisions.
"It's an explosive cocktail ... that kind of [media] power and the political power that he may be entrusted in. It's an explosive cocktail and I think important questions should be asked," said the president of Quebec's Federation of Professional Journalists, Pierre Craig.
Craig said the province's ethics commissioner should investigate to see if there's a conflict.
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