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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Black Press File Photo
Valentine’s Day shooting in central Alberta leaves one man in hospital and another in custody

19-year-old Francis Edward Nepoose from Maskwacis has been charged with attempted murder.

Minister Rick Wilson poses with Katie at the Boys and Girls Club of Wetaskiwin, both wearing her Pink Shirt Day design. Facebook/ Boys and Girls Club of Wetaskiwin.
Be kind and wear pink for Pink Shirt Day

Katie with the Boys and Girls Club of Wetaskiwin created this year’s Pink Shirt Day design.

Bookings for COVID-19 vaccines for people age 75 or older start Wednesday. (File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Updated: Delays for seniors booking for vaccine appointments

Phone lines were swamped and the Alberta Health Services website crashed on… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland and Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau as they meet virtually with United States President Joe Biden from his office on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Biden on China’s detention of two Michaels: ‘Human beings are not bartering chips’

But the White House offered no hints about how it might help secure their release

Meteor spotted over Edmonton, Alta., on Feb. 22, 2021 by several, who took to social media to share their surveillance camera captures. (@KixxAxe/Twitter)
VIDEO: Fireball meteor streaks across sky, spotted by early-morning risers in Alberta, B.C.

Videos of the quick streak of light flashing across the sky before 6:30 a.m. MST

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney makes his way to the chamber in Edmonton on Friday, March 20, 2020. Kenney says a recent bump in energy prices in the third quarter of the budget is helping the bottom line as his government prepares to introduce its 2021-22 budget. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Higher oil prices boosting Alberta’s bottom line as budget looms Thursday: Kenney

EDMONTON — Premier Jason Kenney says a recent bump in energy prices… Continue reading

Montreal Canadiens head coach Claude Julien gives instructions during practice in Brossard, Que., Tuesday, July 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
CP NewsAlert: Montreal Canadiens fire head coach Claude Julien

Assistant coach appointed interim head coach

(Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
NFB hiring new execs to lead anti-racist practices, forge ties with Indigenous groups

TORONTO — The National Film Board of Canada is creating two key… Continue reading

The cast of “Schitt’s Creek” pose for a photo after winning the Award for Best Comedy Series at the Canadian Screen Awards in Toronto on March 31, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Schitt’s Creek’ earns third consecutive ensemble win at ACTRA Toronto Awards

Tamara Podemski won outstanding performance by a female on ‘Coroner’

NBA chooses All-Star reserves, with Zion among first-timers

NBA chooses All-Star reserves, with Zion among first-timers

FILE - In this March 9, 2020, file photo, New York Yankees' Clint Frazier runs to the dugout during a spring training baseball game in Clearwater, Fla. Brett Gardner's return to the Yankees won't displace Clint Frazier from taking over as New York's starting left fielder. Manager Aaron Boone said Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021, that the 26-year-old Frazier remained his first choice in left while cautioning developments during a season could alter intentions. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)
Yankees finalize deals for Brett Gardner, Justin Wilson

Yankees finalize deals for Brett Gardner, Justin Wilson

Jon Rahm tees off on the 10th hole in front of cardboard cutout fans during the first round of the Genesis Invitational golf tournament at Riviera Country Club, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)
West Coast behind, more fans about to show up on PGA Tour

West Coast behind, more fans about to show up on PGA Tour

Most Read