Fri. Apr 12th, 2024

The PQ calls for an investigation into the financing of the CAQ

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Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, leader of the Parti Québécois (archive photo)

The Canadian Press

The Parti Québécois is calling for an investigation by the Chief Electoral Officer (DGEQ) into “hidden reimbursement scheme” on the financing of the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ).

We learned in the Quebecor media on Wednesday that the municipality of Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha! had illegally reimbursed two donations made to the CAQ by its mayor and its general director to discuss with Minister Andrée Laforest during a fundraising evening.

This follows a series of revelations about CAQ fundraising in January and February which led François Legault to renounce public funding for his party.

In a letter sent to the director general of elections, Jean-François Blanchet, the president of the PQ, Catherine Gentilcore, recalls that according to the law, any contribution must be paid by the voter himself from his own property and not may be subject to a refund.

Ms. Gentilcore asks the DGEQ to carry out an audit on the conformity of the contributions made [to the CAQ] by mayors, councilors and senior municipal officials.

What's more, the PQ leader suspects a hidden reimbursement scheme.

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The general director of Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha! in fact argues in the article that if it had wanted to hide the contribution, it would have done like other municipalities and would have included it in the travel costs.

The mere mention of the existence of such a practice is in itself very serious and deserves, in our opinion, your attention, writes Ms. Gentilcore to Mr. Blanchet.

If such a stratagem is actually used, this means that many contributions may have been made in contradiction with the financing rules of political parties, she fears.

The DGEQ is already investigating the payment by a bereaved couple of donations of $200 to the CAQ to be able to meet the Minister of Transport, Geneviève Guilbault, in her crusade against the #x27;drinking and driving.

Remember that since January 23, the CAQ has been splashed by controversies over its fundraising methods.< /p>

The Canadian Press revealed that 503 out of 1,138 Quebec mayors and prefects had contributed to the CAQ's electoral fund since the last municipal elections in 2021, for a total of nearly $100,000.

The opposition accuses CAQ deputies of having dangled access to ministers in exchange for a $100 donation to the party during x27;fundraising activities.

Le Soleil had also revealed that Ms. Guilbault and her colleague at the Economy, Pierre Fitzgibbon, were by far the most popular ministers invited to CAQ fundraising cocktails: 16 participations in 16 months . Incidentally, these are two ministries which award a lot of subsidies, the PQ then pointed out.

In January, The Canadian Press revealed messages from CAQ MP Louis-Charles Thouin who invited municipal elected officials from his constituency to meet Minister Guilbault in exchange for a contribution to the CAQ fund.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">In another message obtained by The Canadian Press, MP Gilles Bélanger also invited mayors to meet Ms. Guilbault, in exchange for a contribution of $100.< /p>

According to a screenshot obtained by Québec solidaire, MP Yves Montigny invited an entrepreneur from his region to meet a minister at a cocktail in exchange for a $100 contribution to the party fund. p>

The Ethics Commissioner of the National Assembly, Ariane Mignolet, is investigating the case of Mr. Thouin, but refused the opposition's requests for an investigation into MM. Montigny and Bélanger.

She is also investigating the case of the CAQ member for Chauveau, Sylvain Lévesque, specifically on the use by a member of the constituency office staff, in the x27;exercise of its functions, computer equipment and the official email address provided by the National Assembly to promote the partisan fundraising activities of the Coalition Avenir Québec.

We cannot pretend to have a privilege by luring municipal elected officials with a minister into a fundraising cocktail – the law prohibits contributing to a party with the intention of obtaining a counterpart.

Minister Bernard Drainville acknowledged that municipal elected officials discussed their issues with him during fundraising activities, while the general director of the CAQ, Brigitte Legault, rather affirmed that the exchanges between the minister and the mayors were of ;order of brief conversation, sprinkling.

The law allows any citizen to contribute up to $100 per year to the fund #x27;a party, but the contribution must be made without compensation or consideration, to prevent a party or a candidate from finding themselves in a situation where they would feel indebted to the contribution paid by a donor and ensure that each donor acts voluntarily to pay their contribution, on their own initiative and from their own funds, without being pressured or promised by a third person, stipulates Élections Québec.

On February 8, Mr. Legault subsequently announced that his party would renounce popular financing, that is to say contributions from individuals: the CAQ is thus giving up on approximately 1 million dollars collected in donations per year.

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