Wed. Feb 28th, 2024

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The leader of the Parti Québécois, Paul St-Pierre Plamondon. (Archive photo)

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The three opposition parties have in turn demanded that the Ethics Commissioner and Lobbyisme Québec open investigations into the revelations by Radio- Canada on the financing methods of the Coalition Avenir Québec, which raise ethical questions.

These revelations about the dubious and profiteering financing methods of the CAQ are disturbing, but unfortunately predictable, believes the leader of the Parti Québécois, Paul St-Pierre Plamondon.

The PQ intends to table a motion as soon as parliamentary work resumes for the full implementation of the recommendations of the Charbonneau commission on the financing of political parties.

The Parti Québécois refuses to return to the financing methods of the Charest era.

A quote from Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, leader of the PQ

The solidarity MP for Rosemont, Vincent Marissal, said he sent a request for an investigation to the Ethics Commissioner on Wednesday morning.

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The CAQ may be a young party on paper, but its organizers are mired in the oldest and most vile financing schemes. We would think we have returned to the days of corporate financing of the Liberals or sectoral financing of the Parti Québécois, says Vincent Marissal, who believes that the CAQ gives the appearance of monetizing access to its ministers.

M. Marissal maintains that 12 investigation reports concerning CAQ ministers have been published by the Ethics Commissioner since they came to power in 2018.

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Vincent Marissal, member of Québec solidaire. (Archive photo)

When we suggest to a citizen who, by chance , has an active file with the government to make a donation and at the same time it could allow him to discuss, I think we have crossed the ethical line.

A quote from Vincent Marissal, from Québec solidaire

Why would anyone go speak to a minister's chief of staff if only to talk to him about current files? Unless we're talking about the weather, I think that if we promote the presence of a chief of staff or a minister, it's because we know that people are going to talk about things other than weather forecast, adds Vincent Marissal.

In the Liberal Party of Quebec, the leader of the official opposition, Monsef Derraji, believes that it is not the funding cocktails in themselves that are at issue, but rather the dangling of advantages.

Is it legal to have fundraising cocktails? Yes, if we respect the ethical framework and the framework of the Electoral Act and the rules of the DGQ. I myself do fundraising cocktails, I do one in February, but you have to respect the rules. What is alarming is that, beyond not respecting the rules, it is telling people: come and pay $100 and the minister will be there to solve your problem, denounces Mr. Derraji .

In turn, he requests intervention. I am officially calling on the Lobbying Commissioner. We have an institution which governs the rules of lobbying and I invite it to take note of what has been revealed by Radio-Canada, insists Monsef Derraji.

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Monsef Derraji, member of the Liberal Party of Quebec. (Archive photo)

The Coalition Avenir Québec reacted by email via its general director Brigitte Legault. She first returns to the Radio-Canada report in which municipal elected officials said they felt obliged to contribute to the CAQ to meet ministers.

We made a review: in 2023, nearly 1,000 municipal elected officials were met by CAQ ministers as part of formal meetings. This shows that our ministers are available. It is therefore completely false to claim that elected officials must participate in a fundraising activity to have access to our ministers, we can read in Ms. Legault's statement.

This ensures that it is also false to claim that the CAQ encourages illegal lobbying. These activities are neither a place nor a time to advance a file. There is no privileged access. However, if certain words used, such as networking, are confusing, we will correct the situation and ensure that they no longer appear in our messages, she indicates.

We make sure to respect the rules very scrupulously.

A quote from Geneviève Guilbault, Minister of Transport and Deputy Prime Minister of Quebec

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Minister Guilbault during her visit to Val-d'Or.

There are also some who insinuate that it is a way of having access to elected officials. If I take my personal case, and that goes for my fellow ministers, we met thousands of elected officials. Just in the year 023, I met more than a hundred municipal officials and prefects without it being at fundraising cocktails, underlined Ms. Guilbault during her visit to Val-d'Or on Wednesday afternoon.

She assures that her political party will collaborate if there are investigations. The Ethics Commissioner is sovereign, just like the DGE. So, if they judge that they need to look into a situation, we collaborate, says Geneviève Guilbault.

The Ethics Commissioner and Ethics confirms having received a request for an investigation and that it is currently analyzing it to determine whether it is admissible.

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