CAQ dumps candidate Stéphane Laroche after reports of underage drinking in his bar
The Coalition Avenir Québec has dumped candidate Stéphane Laroche after it came to light the business owner allowed minors into his bar and paid women on staff less than their male colleagues.
“The lack of transparency and the lack of respect for pay equity have no place in the CAQ,” the party said in statement on the 13th day of the provincial election campaign.
CAQ Leader François Legault asked Laroche, who was running in the Saint-Jean riding, to withdraw his candidacy on Tuesday following an article published by La Presse Canadienne.
Laroche owns Pub O’Bock, a popular sports bar in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu that caters to young people.
The Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux has disciplined Laroche at least three times for allowing teenagers under the age of 18 into his bar between 2010 and 2018. Quebec’s liquor board also described Laroche as a “multiple repeat offender.”
In 2017, his bar was also found to be in violation of the Pay Equity Act by the CNESST, the province’s workplace and safety board.
The CAQ claims Laroche hid the information and he was “not transparent during the candidacy process.”
After the annoucement, Laroche took to Facebook to thank his supporters and said he would speak with them again soon. He also reiterated his support for the party.
“Calm down everyone, one thing at a time,” he said. “I will have the opportunity to rectify many, many lies about me.”
Laroche’s withdrawal comes exactly one week after CAQ president Stéphane Le Bouyonnec suddenly stepped down and retracted his candidacy for the riding of La Prairie over an apparent conflict of interest.
In his resignation letter, Le Bouyonnec said he made his decision with the best interests of the party in mind.
— With files from the Canadian Press
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