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Éethics : the Claude Surprenant case could be re-examined

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MP Claude Surprenant still rejects the conclusions of the former ethics commissioner to this day of the National Assembly Jacques Saint-Laurent. (Archive photo)

  • Jérôme Labbé (View profile)Jérôme Labbé

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The investigation which prompted the National Assembly to reprimand former MP Claude Surprenant in 2017 could be relaunched, to the great dismay of the principal concerned.

A motion from the government's parliamentary leader, Simon Jolin-Barrette, was adopted without debate, Thursday at the Salon bleu, to mandate the Ethics Commissioner, Ariane Mignolet, to determine whether the new elements linked to this file justify a new investigation.

MP for Groulx, in the Lower Laurentians, Claude Surprenant was excluded from the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) in 2017 due to irregularities in his expenses . He was then reprimanded by parliamentarians after the publication of a report by Mignolet's predecessor, Jacques Saint-Laurent.

However, the latter was, to carry out his investigation, based on the testimonies of three former employees of Mr. Surprenant, including Julie Nadeau, sentenced earlier this month to 15 months in prison for fraud, use forgery and perjury – charges filed in connection with a UPAC investigation into this matter.

For Mr. Surprise, who has pleaded his innocence for six years, the guilt of his former attaché invalidates the conclusions of ex-Commissioner Saint-Laurent, an opinion visibly shared by the current deputies, who did not oppose the motion tabled Thursday.

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The text provides, among other things, that Commissioner Mignolet can take all means she deems necessary, including the appointment of an ad hoc commissioner, to shed light on this matter once and for all.

Such a development, that said, is far from rejoicing Claude Surprenant, who sees in this motion a problem of neutrality.

In a statement sent to Radio-Canada, the former MP, who criticizes, among other things, Ariane Mignolet for having, upon taking office, appointed Jacques Saint-Laurent to act as commissioner ad hoc in this matter, emphasizes that he would have preferred to call on an independent entity.

Mr. Surprise also deplores the fact that the chosen process, which he compares to the torture of gout, is a harbinger of new delays, something he would have liked to have finished before Christmas. I probably still have it for a while, he notes.

On December 7, 2016, I dismissed Julie Nadeau on the recommendation of Assembly HR. Also, this December 7, 2023 could have been more significant.

A quote from Claude Surprenant, ex-MP for Groulx

The ex-MP demands an apology and financial compensation of $1 million from the National Assembly for what he considers a terrible affront to him. The latest news, however, the lawsuit had not been filed.

The main interested party, who published a book to deliver his version of the facts , believes he has lost a lot due to this affair. Deprived of a political vehicle, Mr. Surprise notably failed to be re-elected in his constituency in 2018, losing to the current Minister of Finance, Eric Girard.

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