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Philippe Couillard says embattled ex-byelection candidate had to step down

Eric Tetrault, left, candidate for a by-election in the Louis-Hebert riding, speaks at a news conference as Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard, right, looks on in Quebec City on August 15, 2017. Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard says it was clear his party's candidate in an upcoming byelection had no choice but to step down. Eric Tetrault withdrew from the race Wednesday night after Montreal La Presse wrote about the existence of a report for his former employer on the candidate's psychological harassment of employees. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
September 07, 2017 - 10:40 AM

MONTREAL - Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard says it was clear his party's candidate in an upcoming byelection had no choice but to step down.

Eric Tetrault withdrew from the race Wednesday night after Montreal La Presse wrote about the existence of a report for his former employer on the candidate's psychological harassment of employees.

No formal complaint was filed after the probe into Tetrault, but Couillard told reporters in Montreal there was no doubt he had to step down.

"Everyone — including (Tetrault) himself — came to the conclusion that his campaign, obviously, could not continue," Couillard said. "I do not think his campaign could have gone on for another day."

La Presse said the report commissioned by top brass at steel and mining company ArcelorMittal 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.

The premier said his Liberals are essentially starting the campaign again from scratch and that several candidates have expressed interest in running for the Oct. 2 byelection.

He defended the party's vetting process, noting that not all documents are available such as the one that ultimately proved to be Tetrault's downfall.

Couillard said while the process might be tightened for all parties, no system will be perfect.

Tetrault was actually the second candidate to withdraw from the race in Louis-Hebert on Wednesday.

Just hours earlier, Normand Sauvageau, who was running for the Coalition for Quebec's Future, stepped down, saying he failed to disclose the "difficult circumstances" under which he retired from his banking job.

Both parties have said they'll find replacement candidates in the week-old campaign and have until Sept. 16 to do so, according to the province's elections office.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2017
The Canadian Press

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