Peladeau accuses Liberals of harassment with remark about cable company he owns

QUEBEC – Parti Quebecois Leader Pierre Karl Peladeau accused the Liberals of harassment and intimidation on Wednesday for alluding to the interest rates his cable company charges tardy customers.

The debate was triggered by PQ energy critic Bernard Drainville’s comment in the national assembly that the province’s hydro utility is usuriously charging people rates of 14.4 per cent for late payments.

Hydro-Quebec acts like “Shylock” in charging customers the 14.4 per cent rate, Drainville said in a reference to the money-lending character in Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice.”

Energy Minister Pierre Arcand responded by stating that Videotron, a subsidiary of Quebecor Inc. (TSX:QBR.B), charges its late-paying customers interest rates of 19.56 per cent.

Peladeau, Quebecor’s controlling shareholder, questioned what his telecommunications company had to do with Hydro-Quebec.

He said the Liberals were using harassment and intimidation tactics as a strategy to criticize him.

“I think there will be political consequences,” he said about the Liberals’ tactics.

Peladeau added Quebecers will eventually decide at the voting booth whether they support the government’s attitude toward him.