Former PQ leader André Boisclair pleads guilty to drunk driving

Former Parti Quebecois leader Andre Boisclair was fined $2,000 and had his licence suspended for a year Thursday after pleading guilty to impaired driving, refusal to obey an order and obstruction of justice.

Boisclair, 51, was arrested in Quebec City last November after his car struck a lamppost.

He was also granted an absolute discharge, which will allow him to continue travelling back and forth to the United States.

"Today, I have assumed responsibility for my behaviour,'' Boisclair said outside the courtroom.

"I am especially relieved that nobody but myself has been affected by this, that nobody else suffered the consequences of my mistake.

"And I hope this entire affair will remind everyone that no one should ever drink and drive.''

Boisclair received the minimum sentence for the first two charges and Judge Gilles Charest said he believed it was in the former politician's best interest that he be given the absolute discharge for the charge of obstructing justice.

Crown prosecutor Jean-Philippe Robitaille said Boisclair showed contrition from the outset of the proceedings and that he did not receive special treatment.

The longtime provincial politician served as PQ leader between November 2005 and May 2007. He quit that year after the PQ finished third in the general election.

Boisclair was first elected in 1989 at the age of 23 — at the time he was the youngest-ever member of the legislature — and went on to hold several cabinet positions in governments headed by Lucien Bouchard and Bernard Landry.

Post-politics, he was appointed to several advisory posts and served as Quebec's delegate-general in New York City in 2012 and 2013.

He is currently president and chief executive officer of the Institut de developpement urbain du Quebec, which speaks for the real estate industry and promotes urban development in the province.