08/13/2014 04:56 EDT | Updated 10/13/2014 05:59 EDT

Quebec provincial police chief asks to be relieved of his duties

QUEBEC - Quebec is losing its top cop.

Mario Laprise, who was appointed in 2012 by the then-Parti Quebecois government to head the provincial police force, is leaving.

Public Security Minister Lise Theriault said today Laprise told the new Liberal government he wanted to return to Hydro-Quebec, where he used to be in charge of security.

There have been rumours that relations were strained between Laprise and the Liberals.

Some had said it was felt his allegiances lay with the previous government.

Premier Philippe Couillard said in his first news conference after taking power earlier this year that the provincial police leader's job would very likely be one of those that would be re-evaluated.

Under normal circumstances, Laprise would have served as the force's chief until 2017.

The government has created a search committee to find a new director and given it until Nov. 14 to give three names for consideration.

A new boss should be named before Christmas, Theriault said Wednesday.

In the meantime, deputy director Luc Fillion will be in charge.

Laprise had a long career in the provincial police, most notably with the squad that fought outlaw bikers.