Quebec cabinet minister quits amid widespread controversy

Associated Press

QUEBEC - Quebec's newly appointed environment minister has abruptly quit, less than two months after taking office.

A misty-eyed Daniel Breton delivered a brief statement to reporters in Quebec City this morning, announcing he would focus on working in his riding.

Various media reports since yesterday have said Breton persistently missed rent payments and allowed an unpaid fine to languish.

Another report said court records indicated Breton was found guilty in 1988 of EI-related fraud.

In his brief statement today, Breton said he knows what it's like to be short on money and going through hard times. He said he will get back to working in his riding, which has poor neighbourhoods.

The former environmentalist had taken an activist stance in the new Parti Quebecois cabinet.

He expressed opposition to an oil pipeline opening in Quebec and had personally called members of the arm's-length environmental impact-assessment body and hinted he would be watching their decisions closely.

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