Bernard Drainville, Parti Quebecois MNA, Quits Politics

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LONGUEUIL, Que. — The member of Quebec's legislature who introduced the values charter while in the short-lived Parti Quebecois government announced Tuesday he is leaving politics to co-host a radio show.

Bernard Drainville, 53, was closely allied to former PQ leader Pierre Karl Peladeau and said the latter's abrupt departure from politics in May was a major reason for his own decision.

"Him quitting really hit me, it kind of slayed me," Drainville told reporters in his Montreal-area riding.

bernard drainville
Parti Quebecois MNA Bernard Drainville speaks at a news conference Friday, April 1, 2016 at the legislature in Quebec City. (Photo: Jacques Boissinot/CP)

"We formed a tandem, we were a team. I understood our direction and the role I was to play. I totally adhered to his vision and his departure was, kind of, a signal for me to leave."

As Opposition house leader, Drainville was often at Peladeau's side during news conferences and helped to deliver and craft party narrative.

Drainville has been a member of the national assembly since 2007 and is best known for introducing the doomed secular values charter in 2013 as a minister in Pauline Marois' minority government, which fell after the 2014 election to the Liberals.

Ran for PQ leadership

The values charter would have prohibited state employees such as teachers, doctors and bureaucrats from wearing conspicuous religious symbols at work.

"There is a new consciousness" on the idea that "the state and religion should be clearly separated and the best way to protect our diversity is to have a neutral state," Drainville said Tuesday.

Drainville ran for the PQ leadership in 2015 but dropped out to support Peladeau.

Returning to 'old love'

A former Radio-Canada journalist, he says he is returning to his "old love."

Drainville will co-host a noon-hour radio show on Quebec City station FM93 with Eric Duhaime, a popular, right-leaning pundit who regularly criticizes the idea of Quebec sovereignty and the large and powerful civil service.

"I think it's going to lead to some interesting exchanges," he said.


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