Quebec Liberal candidate Eric Tetrault quits byelection

In this Aug. 2017 file photo, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard, Quebec Employment and Social Solidarity Minister François Blais, left, and Eric Tetrault, the former candidate for a by-election in the Louis-Hébert riding. Tetrault announced he was removing his name from the ballot Wednesday, Sep. 6, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot

QUEBEC – The Quebec Liberal party candidate for a Quebec City byelection on Oct. 2 has pulled out of the race amid claims that he psychologically harassed employees of a company where he previously worked.

Eric Tetrault took his name off the ballot in the Louis-Hebert riding on Wednesday night after spending the day defending himself against the allegations.

The Quebec Liberal party — which had rallied behind its candidate — confirmed on Twitter that Tetrault had pulled out, adding it would make no further comment at this time.

Montreal La Presse had reported Wednesday that Tetrault was the subject of a psychological harassment complaint while serving as director of public affairs for ArcelorMittal, a steel and mining company.

READ MORE: Byelection to be held in Quebec City riding of Louis-Hébert on Oct. 2

Tetrault acknowledged the contents of the report but told some Quebec City media no formal complaint was filed following the probe.

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La Presse said the report commissioned by ArcelorMittal’s top brass concluded Tetrault’s behaviour toward women was uncalled for and that he would comment on their physical appearance.

It also said he intimidated other employees and was the reason three people took sick leave.

READ MORE: Amid harassment claims, Quebec Liberals support candidate Eric Tetrault in byelection

Tetrault apologized Wednesday, saying his behaviour was “improper” and admitting to being “abrasive” and a bit “forthright” with members of his team.

He said ArcelorMittal executives were under pressure at the time and that he had made the “common mistake” of transferring that pressure to employees.

Several Liberal cabinet ministers came to Tetrault’s defence Wednesday and he said he hopes to remain the party’s candidate.

Tetrault earlier said he had the support of Premier Phillipe Couillard  and had discussed the matter with him on Tuesday night.

Tetrault is the second candidate to withdraw from the race in Louis-Hebert.

READ MORE: CAQ passes Liberals as top choice of Quebec voters: poll

Normand Sauvageau, who was running for the Coalition Avenir Quebec said Wednesday that he was dropping out after receiving a call from a reporter earlier in the day regarding his early retirement in 2016.

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“I realized at that point just how essential it is for a candidate in an election to be open,” he said in a statement.

“More than a year ago, after a 39-year career, I retired in difficult circumstances in terms of labour relations. When I filed my candidacy, I did not tell the Coalition about important facts surrounding my departure.”

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