Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

The Parti québécois calls for «  get ministers out of political financing

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Pascal Bérubé, PQ MP for Matane-Matapédia (Archive photo)

  • Jean-Marc Belzile (View profile)Jean-Marc Belzile

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The Parti Québécois intends to table a bill during 2024 to “get ministers out of political financing.”

The PQ thus reacts to the fact that municipal elected officials say they make political donations to the Coalition Avenir Québec solely for the purpose of meeting government ministers.

Québec solidaire and the other opposition parties are demanding explanations from the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) on the availability of its ministers. Québec solidaire and the Parti Québécois thus react to revelations from Radio-Canada on the fact that elected officials feel obliged to contribute to the CAQ to meet ministers during fundraising activities. They attend partisan evenings at a cost of $100 to get a discussion with them.

Parti Québécois MP in Matane-Matapédia, Pascal Bérubé, believes that ministers should no longer be an incentive to finance a political party. He intends to table a bill to this effect.

If you finance the CAQ , you finance it because you like its ideas, not because you want a happy hour with a minister.

A quote from Pascal Bérubé, PQ MP for Matane-Matapédia

Mr. Bérubé believes that this process also places ministers in a vulnerable situation, because they never know who they are dealing with. He adds that entrepreneurs also pay to have access to ministers, as well as heads of organizations.

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Our political party does not have a minister, we do not really do fundraising activities and we still raise more money than the CAQ. So, it is not necessary to do that, he mentions, specifying that certain elected officials, according to him, do not even know that they are making a donation to the political party when they pay to attend these evenings. .

It's happening in my area. In several cases, I informed them that their names appeared in the public register as donors to the CAQ. They were surprised. There was even one who told me: ''I was asked to give money, but I didn't think I was giving to the CAQ.'' x27; There is a confusion of genres, it’s uncomfortable, says Pascal Bérubé

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Émilise Lessard-Therrien, co-spokesperson for Québec solidaire

I can understand the great discomfort, continues Émilise Lessard-Therrien, co-spokesperson for Québec solidaire. It is not normal, in a democracy like ours, for people to feel obliged to pay a financial contribution to be able to speak to their elected officials. It just doesn't make sense and we deserve explanations, she maintains.

Ms. Lessard-Therrien believes that the political culture of financing the ruling party must change. She also questions the availability of CAQ ministers.

When our ministers go to the region, what space do they make in their schedule to meet municipal elected officials, but also other civil society organizations? she asks herself.

The Coalition Avenir Québec ensures that its ministers are available for meetings with municipal elected officials in order to advance the issues.

On the sidelines of a point of press in Quebec, the Minister of Labor and Minister responsible for Abitibi-Témiscamingue and Nord-du-Québec, Jean Boulet, reiterated his party's position.

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The minister responsible for Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Jean Boulet (Archive photo)

To my knowledge, that's not how you gain access to a minister. There are many other ways if a person is elected, there are work meetings, but in no way is it linked to money. This would be completely in violation of our laws regarding financing, points out Mr. Boulet.

For his part, the president of the Fédération québécoise des municipalities (FQM), Jacques Demers, does not see any discomfort in the financing methods of political parties.

Mr. Demers believes that political fundraising activities are good opportunities to learn more about the intentions of parties.

He who has a Malaysia has every right not to attend. There is no obligation, notes the mayor of Sainte-Catherine-de-Hatley.

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Jacques Demers, president of the Fédération québécoise des municipalities (Archive photo)

Jacques Demers indicates that as a politics enthusiast he regularly attends activities of all parties.

When they come to the region, I want know what is going on, but they do not force us to be members of a party or to praise that party. That's not my role. This is why I consider myself very neutral, he explains.

Mr. Demers donated $100 to the Quebec Liberal Party in 2016 and 2017, and $100 to the Coalition Avenir Québec in 2019.

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