Ex-PQ leader and sex offender André Boisclair refused therapy in jail, denied parole

MONTREAL — Former Parti Québécois leader André Boisclair has been denied release from jail in a decision issued this week, his first chance at parole after serving one-sixth of his sentence for sex crimes against two young men.

The province's parole board — Commission québécoise des libérations conditionnelles — said the former politician has shown an "arrogant attitude" toward correctional officers and has refused to participate in group therapy for sexual delinquency because of concerns that his words would be leaked to the media.

"Considering all the elements in the file, the commission considers that the risk of recidivism that you present is currently unacceptable and that the process must continue within the security context of incarceration," the commission wrote in a summary made public Tuesday.

Boisclair, 56, was sentenced in July to two years in jail less one day after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting one man in 2014 and another in 2015.

The commission summary says that according to Boisclair's lawyer, a doctor recommended he not participate in group therapy. The doctor reportedly thought Boisclair's presence would cause the group to "implode" because of his high intellect and sophisticated way of expressing himself.

Boisclair told the commission he tried to obtain a "tailor-made" treatment, which was refused. A sexologist consulted by Boisclair said he was ready to be released from jail, but the commission disagreed.

"Despite the favourable recommendations … the commission considers that the personal work to be done remains significant, in order to make the risk acceptable in the community," the summary said.

The former politician also told the commission he was struck by an inmate in jail.

The report noted that Boisclair doesn't have any disciplinary measures on his file, but it said there have been at least two instances in October where he was close to being reprimanded for arrogant behaviour toward guards. Boisclair, however, has denied that claim, saying the guards provoked him.

Boisclair pleaded guilty in June 2022 to sexually assaulting two men in their early 20s in his Montreal apartment. The jointly recommended sentence approved by a Quebec court judge includes two years' probation.

Boisclair was a provincial cabinet minister and served as PQ leader between 2005 and 2007 when the party was in opposition. He was later Quebec's delegate general in New York from 2012 to 2013 and was president of the Urban Development Institute of Quebec from 2016 until his arrest.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 16, 2022.

Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press