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The CAQ says it is the victim of “variable geometry indignation”.

PQ ministers would shun fundraising cocktails

Open in full screen mode< p class="StyledImageCaptionLegend-sc-57496c44-2 sbxsP">Outraged by the CAQ's financing practices, Paul St-Pierre Plamondon's PQ is proposing that ministers be prohibited from participating in partisan financing activities. (Archive photo)

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Paul St-Pierre Plamondon undertakes, if the Parti Québécois (PQ) returns to power, not to allow his ministers to participate in fundraising cocktails.

The PQ leader, whom the latest polls place at the top of voting intentions, made the promise late Tuesday morning, a few hours before the resumption of parliamentary work at the Salon bleu .

This commitment follows the opening of two investigations by the Ethics Commissioner of the National Assembly, Ariane Mignolet, regarding the CAQ deputies Sylvain Lévesque (Chauveau) and Louis- Charles Thouin (Rousseau) in the wake of reports broadcast by Radio-Canada and La Presse canadienne.

In both cases, these elected officials would have suggested to their constituents that participation in a fundraising cocktail could allow them to meet a minister and advance their file.

Complaints filed by solidarity MP Vincent Marissal, spokesperson for the second opposition group on ethics, convinced Commissioner Mignolet to look into their case.

Should ministers be prohibited from getting involved in political financing? Our Fanatics debate it.

To justify his commitment, Mr. St-Pierre Plamondon explained on Tuesday that he was inspired by one of the 60 recommendations made by the Commission of Inquiry into the awarding and management of public contracts in the construction industry in 2015.

At the time, judge France Charbonneau suggested banning ministers and allow their office staff to solicit political contributions from their department's financial assistance providers and recipients.

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In fact, Mr. St-Pierre Plamondon would go even further by requiring his ministers not to participate in any fundraising cocktail. This ban, however, would not apply to other elected officials who, according to him, do not have the same influence.

It targets the government which is in power and which has the power to award contracts, said the PQ leader.

Being a minister comes with responsibilities, and with a relationship of distance, and the CAQ is doing exactly the opposite of what was recommended after the Charbonneau commission.

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

This is not the first time that the Parti Québécois has called for excluding ministers from political financing.

MP Pascal Bérubé indicated that he wanted to table a bill to this effect last year, after the broadcast of another Radio-Canada report according to which mayors felt obliged to contribute to the fund. the CAQ to meet a minister.

The PQ also presented a motion on Tuesday to reiterate that political financing, when carried out in circumstances that lend to the appearance of a conflict of interest and the exchange of advantages or considerations, contributes to the loss of public confidence in our democratic institutions.

The non-binding motion also invited the government to implement the recommendation of the Charbonneau commission prohibiting ministers and their staff to solicit political contributions from their department's financial assistance providers and recipients. It was adopted unanimously.

As a response to Paul St-Pierre Plamondon's suggestion to get ministers out of political financing, the parliamentary leader of the CAQ, Simon Jolin-Barrette, recalled Tuesday that Pascal Bérubé had himself dedicated himself to this kind of practice at the time when he was Minister of Tourism in the Marois government.

The member for Borduas, however, showed himself open to amending the Election Act if the Ethics Commissioner recommends it.

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Invite supporters to meet ministers at fundraising cocktails, “at the Parti Québécois [and] at the Liberal Party. […] they also functioned in this way” at the time they were in power, underlined Tuesday the parliamentary leader of the CAQ, Simon Jolin-Barrette.

The general director of the CAQ, Brigitte Legault, also sent a statement to the press in the afternoon, in which she said she was deeply offended by the accusations circulating in the public space regarding the financing of his party.

Soliciting and receiving donations from municipal elected officials is not only legal, but practiced by all political parties in Quebec, without exception, she recalled, taking for example, deputies Benjamin, Dufour and Setlakwe, who gave to the PLQ when they were in the municipal world.

This variable geometry indignation must stop. Pretending that Quebec would be at risk of returning to the pre-Charbonneau commission is not only lying and demagogic, it amounts to sullying the reputation of the entire Quebec political class.

A quote from Brigitte Legault, director General of the CAQ

Upon his arrival at the National Assembly on Tuesday, MP Sylvain Lévesque reiterated for his part that he was fully cooperating with the Ethics Commissioner's investigation, without recognizing his wrongdoing. . I will defend myself, he warned, stressing that he had already submitted [his] written evidence to the commissioner.

M . Lévesque took the opportunity to emphasize that the investigation only focused on the use of parliamentary resources for partisan purposes, and not on allegations of influence peddling.

The deputy for Chauveau also claimed to have received from Commissioner Mignolet a favorable opinion for him to retain his functions as second vice-president of the x27;National Assembly for the duration of the investigation, as long as the debates it oversees do not relate to questions of ethics or professional conduct.

Québec solidaire (QS), despite this, continues to question the scope of the actions taken by MM. Lévesque and Thouin and on their meaning.

Is there a system of monetizing access to ministers to the CAQ?, launched its parliamentary leader, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, Tuesday morning, at a press briefing. Mr. Legault pleads coincidence. I find that there are starting to be a lot of coincidences.

QS also revealed what the party considers to be another example giving the appearance of paid access to a minister by revealing screenshots of text messages sent by the CAQ member for René-Lévesque, Yves Montigny, to an entrepreneur from the North Shore to invite him to a fundraising cocktail.

I know that we haven't always done what you wanted, but it's a great opportunity to speak to a minister!, writes the MP, inviting his interlocutor to meet André Lamontagne as part of the ;an event organized last November 16, and whose entry price was set at $100.

Since the reform instituted by the government of Pauline Marois in 2013, political donations now represent only a fraction of political parties' income. Their funding today comes more from state coffers and stems from the votes received in the general elections.

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