Quebec education minister Bolduc quits politics in wake of strip-search comments

Embattled Quebec Education Minister Yves Bolduc quit politics on Thursday and will return to practising medicine.

QUEBEC — Embattled Quebec Education Minister Yves Bolduc quit politics on Thursday and will return to practising medicine.

Bolduc told reporters he has also resigned his Quebec City-area seat in the provincial legislature in addition to quitting cabinet.

The abrupt departure comes following a number of controversies surrounding Bolduc, including a recent one over strip searches at Quebec schools.

Premier Philippe Couillard stood with Bolduc as he made the announcement in Quebec City, following a brief meeting with the Liberal caucus and Couillard himself.

“I took a personal decision to return to practising medicine,” Bolduc told reporters without taking any questions.

“It’s a decision that was my own and given all that’s going on … I took the decision to return to practising medicine which I love.”

Bolduc has been a source of embarrassment for the governing Liberals in recent days after comments he made about strip searches at schools.

Last week, Bolduc said strip searches were permitted in Quebec high schools as long as they were conducted in a manner that was “very respectful” to the student.

The issue surfaced after a 15-year-old girl told the Journal de Quebec she felt violated after being strip-searched because the school suspected her of selling drugs.

One day later, Bolduc backtracked and announced an independent lawyer would look into the allegations.

Earlier this week, Couillard refused on a number of occasions to give Bolduc a vote of confidence, fuelling rumours of an impending cabinet shuffle.

On Thursday, an emotional Couillard paid tribute to Bolduc, the man who replaced him in 2008 as health minister.

“I’ve received Yves’ decision with sadness,” Couillard told journalists, thanking Bolduc for his service. “I want to thank him for his passion, his dedication … it’s not a perfectly happy day today, but there will be happier days in the future.”

Couillard says a successor to Bolduc will be named in the coming hours.

While the successor to Bolduc remains unknown, Culture Minister Helene David and Employment Minister Francois Blais appear to be in the mix.

Bolduc, who turns 58 next week, is a doctor and served as the province’s health minister between 2008 and 2012 and inherited the education portfolio when the Liberals swept to power last year.

He has had a difficult run since being named to Couillard’s first cabinet.

In June, Bolduc was the centre of controversy over a $215,000 bonus he received for taking on new patients while the Liberals were out of power and he was practising medicine while in opposition.

Those new patients were dropped after the Liberals won the election last April.

Also last August, Bolduc found himself in controversy again after saying that no child would die or stop reading because of fewer books in school libraries.

The comments were in reference to budget cuts for schools in the upcoming school year.

Just Posted

Federal cabinet ministers visit Edmonton, Calgary, in wake of TMX approval

EDMONTON — Two federal cabinet ministers are making appearances in Alberta today… Continue reading

San Francisco moves closer to nation’s 1st e-cigarette ban

San Francisco supervisors moved a step closer Tuesday to becoming the first… Continue reading

Who said what about the Liberals’ decision to go ahead with Trans Mountain

OTTAWA — There was swift reaction Tuesday to the decision by the… Continue reading

Take two: Alberta lauds federal re-approval of Trans Mountain pipeline project

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is lauding the federal government’s decision… Continue reading

WATCH: New RDC president has three decades of experience working at colleges and universities

Peter Nunoda says he’s ‘excited’ to help transition the college into a university

Follow the money: Salary cap could spawn NHL trade frenzy

Matt Niskanen wasn’t totally shocked when the Washington Capitals traded him to… Continue reading

Rugby Canada chooses 43-man long list for Pacific Nations Cup tournament

Captain Tyler Ardron, who plays in New Zealand for Super Rugby’s Chiefs,… Continue reading

Paul Simon, Alice Quinn honoured by Poetry Society of America

NEW YORK — Paul Simon doesn’t care much for requests, but he… Continue reading

NFB says Indigenous Action Plan is on track, meets 2020 production targets

MONTREAL — The National Film Board of Canada says it has reached… Continue reading

Take two: Alberta lauds federal re-approval of Trans Mountain pipeline project

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is lauding the federal government’s decision… Continue reading

Business leaders welcome pipeline approval but fear it may not be completed

CALGARY — Ottawa’s approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion pleased business… Continue reading

Alberta limits debate on bill to strip some public sector bargaining rights

EDMONTON — Alberta’s United Conservative government is limiting debate on a contentious… Continue reading

Blair says more gun-control action needed, signals no new steps before election

OTTAWA — Crime Reduction Minister Bill Blair says more must be done… Continue reading

Most Read