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Guy Turcotte, in a file photo.

Three years after stabbing his two young children nearly four dozen times, a former Quebec doctor says he's ready to return to society.

Guy Turcotte insists he's a changed man who has fought off depression, is ready for an angry public and is looking forward to continuing therapy outside hospital walls.

The cardiologist, whose medical licence has lapsed, wants to return to the profession. He also wants to find another partner, even though he believes he's not ready for love quite yet.

"Eventually – and I don't know when – I'd like a relationship," Mr. Turcotte said Thursday as he testified before a panel that will decide his fate.

"I don't think it's a bad thing to have objectives."

Mr. Turcotte's case drew considerable outrage in Quebec, especially when a jury found him not criminally responsible for killing his children in 2009.

Mr. Turcotte stabbed his five-year-old son Olivier and three-year-old daughter Anne-Sophie a total of 46 times.

He admitted causing the deaths but denied intent.

He testified he was distraught over the breakup of his marriage and that he didn't remember committing the act.

On Thursday, Mr. Turcotte praised the work of a detention centre criminologist who has helped him.

"My eyes are wide open to my troubles," Mr. Turcotte said in testimony that barely mentioned his late children. "I'm a lot more solid now than I was then."

Mr. Turcotte admitted not everything is resolved, but said he's no longer depressed or suicidal and doesn't need medication.

His ex-wife, Isabelle Gaston, expressed astonishment at Mr. Turcotte's comment that he is ready to move on.

"I find it pretty strange that he no longer thinks about suicide, while not a week goes by without me thinking about it," she told reporters outside the psychiatric institution that houses Mr. Turcotte.

Ms. Gaston made it clear she's scared and that she believes her ex-husband is a manipulator.

"I fear he's going to come and attack me and off me," she said.

But Mr. Turcotte said he is convinced he is not a risk to anyone and that he has no desire to contact Ms. Gaston.

Under questioning by his lawyer, Mr. Turcotte said his first priority is to continue with therapy.

He said he plans to live with family if released and that a bed is already waiting for him.

Staff at the facility testified during a November hearing that Mr. Turcotte told them he'd like to start practising medicine again elsewhere in Canada and wanted to have more kids.

A psychiatrist and a psychologist both told the board back then that Mr. Turcotte should be detained for at least one more year.

Mr. Turcotte said he has no doubt he'd face an angry public if released, but believes he's now better prepared to deal with life.

His father, mother, an aunt and two of his five siblings all testified they are ready to help.

His mother, Marguerite Fournier, said the family couldn't do it alone but noted support is available.

Three experts are expected to testify on Mr. Turcotte's behalf on Friday.

The board is expected to render a written decision at a later date.

It will decide whether Mr. Turcotte should be freed, released with conditions, or remain detained in a psychiatric institution with a yearly review of his file.