Media baron Pierre Karl Peladeau shook up the Quebec election campaign on Sunday, announcing he's decided to run for the Parti Quebecois.
Flanked by PQ Leader Pauline Marois, Peladeau told a news conference he's worked to build up media giant Quebecor over the past 25 years and now wants to devote himself to public service.
He said his dream is to help Quebec become a country.
"Quebec has all the means to succeed. We have financial resources, we have human resources, we have natural resources,'' Peladeau said in St. Jerome, north of Montreal, where he will run for a seat in the April 7 election.
"We've got everything (we need) for a country to be alive and kicking.''
Peladeau rejected suggestions his entry into politics could represent a conflict of interest, given his powerful presence in the province's media landscape.
He was, until recently, head of president of Quebecor Media Inc. (TSX:QBR.B), which controls the tabloid newspaper Journal de Montreal and the French-language TVA television network.
The conglomerate also owns the Sun tabloids and the Sun News Network in English Canada.
Peladeau said he resigned Sunday morning as vice-chairman of Quebecor, which was founded by his father.
While he will retain his ownership stake, Peladeau said his media outlets will be independent in their coverage and he will place his investments in a blind trust.
Rumours had been swirling for months that Peladeau would run for the PQ.
Last year, he stepped down as Quebecor CEO to take a post as chairman of Hydro Quebec.
He said Sunday he had stepped down from that post as well.
Peladeau's decision to run for the PQ represents a major coup for Marois, whose party has tried to erase doubts about its ability to manage the economy.
Marois, who is seeking a majority in the election, said she looks forward to working with Peladeau.
"He is a sovereigntist, he is a person that has great experience in business, and I've convinced him to work with me and my team for the progress of the economy of Quebec, and the progress of Quebec,'' Marois said.
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