Prime Minister François Legault announces that the CAQ will renounce receiving private donations and asks other parties to do the same. (Archive photo)
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Singled out after some of its MPs, including Orford MP Gilles Bélanger, invited elected officials and certain people to cocktails in exchange for donations to the party, the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) draws a line under the popular financing. In Estrie, the decision is not unanimous.
For the president of the Quebec Federation of Municipalities and mayor of Sainte-Catherine-de-Hatley, Jacques Demers, popular financing plays an important role with political parties. We don't have the real target or the reason. Basically, the target was to find out if a $100 from mayors gave them access to speak with ministers. That was the file. Here, we are questioning popular financing.
Jacques Demers maintains that political donations are essential for new parties. (Archive photo)
We cannot end popular funding. If a party wants to get started, it's going to need that.
A quote from Jacques Demers, president of the Fédération québécoise des municipalities
The president of the executive of the Parti québécois de Sherbrooke, Yves Bérubé-Lauzière, agrees. According to him, popular financing makes it possible to finance new parties and support existing parties.
The CAQ proposed last summer to increase the ceiling on political donations to $200
ELSEWHERE ON INFO: The CAQ proposed last summer to raise the ceiling on political donations to $200
I think the law as it currently stands could be strengthened in some respects. What we could do is that as soon as a person is elected at the municipal level, they could not be entitled to contribute to a party fund. I think that's the problem right now. There are people from the municipal world who were given the promise that they would have access to a minister by contributing, underlines Yves Bérubé-Lauzière.
When you are elected municipally, you change your role in society. We represent people, and these people are not all of the same political allegiance at the Quebec level. I think we perhaps need to put a barrier in this regard.
A quote from Yves Bérubé-Lauzière, president of the executive of the Parti québécois de Sherbrooke
Yves Bérubé-Lauzière believes that the law could be strengthened.
The former Liberal MP for Orford, Robert Benoît, is of the opinion that this The CAQ’s decision is hasty. Undoing a law, amending a law or adjusting a regulation because there are four not-so-enlightened MPs writing a crooked letter to their mayor, it seems improvised from A to Z to me.
We have really restrictive measures to avoid all these shenanigans that we have experienced, particularly with the Charbonneau commission, adds Robert Benoît. Let these deputies be put in penance in the corner for a few days and let's move on. I hope we have other topics to discuss in Quebec.
The mayor of Sutton, Robert Benoît
There are real ethical questions, but I do not think that the level of the ethical problem that has been raised justifies such great reflections, maintains the former PQ candidate, Guillaume Rousseau. That said, to think about the possibility of having a system which would be 100% public financing for political parties, it is not a bad system and we can debate it. Let's say it would be like using a big hammer to kill a fly, considering that the ethical problems raised are real questions, but it is not of a very significant magnitude, he explains.
Guillaume Rousseau underlines that a system based exclusively on public financing could be debated.
The current debate stems from allegations reported by Radio-Canada and La Presse canadienne about CAQ MPs Sylvain Lévesque and Louis-Charles Thouin, who are currently the subject of two investigations by the Commissioner of Justice. ethics and professional conduct of the National Assembly, Ariane Mignolet.
She also received two complaints from Québec Solidaire targeting deputies Yves Montigny and Gilles Bélanger, who defended himself in writing on Wednesday, ensuring that he was always available for municipal elected officials.
According to The Canadian Press , almost half of Quebec mayors have contributed to the financing of the CAQ since 2021. In December, a report from Radio-Canada also told us that some of them felt obliged to contribute to the party fund to meet a minister.
According to information from Guylaine Charette