Crisis at the MTQ: Time for Couillard to Clean Up the Mess, Says Legault

 

 9 June 2016

Philippe Couillard should stop beating around the bush, and start cleaning up the mess in Quebec’s Transport Ministry (MTQ).

Due to the magnitude of the revelations made by the former Auditors, Annie Trudel and Louise Boily, the CAQ demanded and obtained an emergency debate at the National Assembly.

In fact, Mr. Legault urged the Prime Minister to adopt three immediate measures:

  • To dismiss the Minister of Transport, Jacques Daoust, and to appoint a new minister;
  • To select a new deputy minister who is currently not working in the public service;
  • To oblige the new minister and deputy minister to be present every three months at the National Assembly’s Committee on Transportation.

“Yesterday, Ms. Trudel and Ms. Boily have confirmed our greatest worries; the MTQ is ridden with manipulation, obstruction, lies and intimidation. What we heard goes beyond reason. Quebecers want to tell the Prime Minister that enough is enough! He needs to take real measures to rehabilitate the ministry. We need to have full determination in the fight against the MTQ’s cancer”, stated Mr. Legault.

The situation is far too serious for Philippe Couillard to keep acting as a spectator, while the population’s cynicism and anger are at a rise; adds François Legault. After all, it is none other than Philippe Couillard who made the decision to dismiss the member for Marguerite-Bourgeoys, Robert Poëti. He is also the one who authorized for the former deputy minister, Dominique Savoie, to remain employed at the Executive Board; and the one who submitted falsified documents to the members of the Assembly.

“Beyond apologies, where are his will and determination? He needs to show leadership, through strong corrective acts”, highlighted the member for L’Assomption.

Who Is Protecting Dominique Savoie?

The Coalition Avenir Québec critic for public administration efficiency, Éric Caire, would like to know: Who is protecting Dominique Savoie? She was discharged as the Transport deputy minister, and promoted to the Executive Board. “Insubordination, obstruction of investigation, intimidation and indignation at the National assembly; are all elements of Dominique Savoie’s fancy track record. She was shown the door at the MTQ, only to be placed in the PM’s own ministry! Is it neglect, or complicity?” questions the member for La Peltrie.

Couillard Will Not Commit to Refund Money Collected Illegally

 

 8 June 2016

Philippe Couillard continues to put the interests of Quebec’s Liberal Party before those of Quebecers. He is firmly refusing to extend the chief electoral officer’s (DGE’s) limitation period to 20 years, in the claim of funds collected illegally.

Only yesterday, Quebec’s DGE revealed that the QLP refused, in May 2015, to refund a sum of $3,500 collected illegally in 2009. According to the CAQ Leader, François Legault, the Liberal party is the same old party; it uses the same questionable methods and protects the same shady individuals. Not only is Philippe Couillard refusing, once again, to cooperate in matters of ethics, he is also refusing to account for the troublesome past of his political party, by invoking the statute of limitations clause.

“Yesterday, the Liberal party’s image sank deeper into darkness. The PM showed that he is unwilling to put an end to the Liberals’ impervious culture. What they fail to understand, is that the people’s cynicism towards their old ways is beyond limitations. In 2013, the Assembly adopted unanimously the CAQ’s motion to extend the statute of limitations. Once again, the Liberals are going back on their word. Only after yesterday’s outcry, the PM finally asked his party to reimburse the $3,500 collected illegally. Yet he remains stubborn, and refuses to extend the limitation period to twenty years, as it was done for construction companies”, denounced François Legault.

The member for Deux-Montagnes and CAQ critic for the reform of democratic institutions, Benoit Charette, deplores the lack of reaction by Minister Rita De Santis. She claimed that the QLP has refunded every illegal contribution, except for this sum of $3,500. “If I understand the Minister correctly, Mr. President, the Liberals are always decent…always…except that one time, at band camp”, Mr, Charette said wittily.

The CAQ Demands Minister Jacques Daoust’s Resignation

 

 2 June 2016

The Coalition Avenir Québec is demanding Jacques Daoust’s immediate dismissal as a Minister in the Couillard government; in light of a report by the Auditor General that states -beyond a shadow of a doubt- that he has personally authorised investments Quebec (IQ) to sell RONA’s shares in December 2014. Last February, he declared the opposite to journalists on the Parliament Hill.

The CAQ also opposes Sam Hamad’s return to the Council of Ministers. The report has not absolved the former Minister, who was discharged due to questionable interactions with Marc-Yvan Côté.

“The Minister of Transport has lied to Quebecers regarding his involvement in this transaction”, accuses the CAQ house leader, François Bonnardel. In fact, the CAQ member recalls that in a press conference that took place on February 3, Jacques Daoust stated that he was not advised of the share sale, given that it was an independent decision that was taken by IQ’s executive members.

Taken by surprise, during the Question Period, Jacques Daoust briefly said that he would like to read the report by the AG to remember whether he indeed authorised IQ to sell their RONA shares. “He has nothing left to do, but to resign”, said François Bonnardel in a press conference, right after the Question Period at the National Assembly.

Sam Hamad Is Not in the Clear

Moreover, the CAQ house leader stated that Sam Hamad is not out of the woods, considering the AG’s report. “Sam Hamad and the Liberal apparatchiks were early to celebrate in the media. The AG clearly stated this morning that this report is strictly administrative. The Minister may be cleared as far as the processes undertaken by his ministry; but he is absolutely not so for his questionable activities beyond the administrative process. These actions, namely his breakfasts with Marc-Yvan Côté and the information he disclosed to Premier Tech, are the reasons for his discharge from his function as a Minister”, explains Mr. Bonnardel. The member for Granby even considers that the report raises new concerns, such as the undocumented and sudden increase in the amount granted in subsidy.

Second Time in Two Days: The PLQ Denies Motion for Internal Audit

 

 21 April 2016

The Quebec Liberal Party is adamant; it has no intention to open its books. In fact, for a second day in a row, the Liberal MNAs have refused to support the CAQ’s motion, demanding for the National Assembly to recognize the necessity to launch an investigation on political party financing for the years 1996 to 2011.

Yet, it was only yesterday, that the Prime minister and Liberal Leader, Philippe Couillard, stated that he was ready to prove his political party’s transparency “for any period of time”. The CAQ critic for integrity, Nathalie Roy, considers that this second reverse clearly shows the apprehension that reigns in the Liberal caucus.

“What do they have to hide? It’s hard to distinguish who is telling the truth in this party! The Prime Minister was rebuffed on two occasions by his team; he finally agreed, after weeks of pressure, for the DGEQ to stick its nose in the Liberal books for the last 20 year period. It is quite obvious that by denying our motion, not only is the Prime Minister retracting his words, but he is also refusing to reimburse the dirty money that was collected illegally, during the period of time that was examined by the Charbonneau Commission. Quebecers have many questions that need to be answered. How much money did Marc-Yvan Côté amass? Were the contributions legal? The citizens want the government to allow the DGEQ to backtrack, for as long as necessary, to recover the money collected illegally!” informed Nathalie Roy.

“What Is Philippe Couillard Hiding?” -François Legault

 

 20 April 2016

While cornered by the Coalition Avenir Québec Leader, François Legault; the Prime Minister of Quebec, Philippe Couillard, has half-heartedly admitted that an internal verification for illegal political financing was taking place within his party. The Liberal Leader did not, however, commit to render the results public, nor to reimburse the illegal sums collected during the last 20 years.

The CAQ Leader demanded for a public disclosure of the investigation results. He accepted Couillard’s proposal to comb through the financing of every political party, including the CAQ and the ADQ, starting from 1996. However, the terms of verification remain unclear; the Prime Minister has failed to express his intentions during the Question Period. A worst case scenario would be that he is withdrawing and improvising for the sake of the Liberal party’s interests, warned François Legault.

“For months now, we have been stressing that the chief electoral officer (DGEQ), should be able to go back twenty years in investigations pertaining to political financing practices. The same rules that are applied to construction companies, should also be applied to political parties. We must act quickly, and shed some light on 20 dark years of illegal political financing. The Prime Minister has returned to politics, and is well aware that the Liberal party was accused of illegal financing, on many occasions since 1996. His first action as a Liberal leader should have been to lead an internal audit, in order to tidy up. What is his deadline for the internal verification? Instead of being a guarantor of integrity, the Prime Minister has become the master of ambiguity. He must show that his sudden acceptance is genuine, rather than that of a leader trying to buy more time to benefit the Liberal party”, said the CAQ Leader.

The CAQ: An Interim Monopoly Granted to Premier Tech

 

 13 April 2016

The Coalition Avenir Québec uncovered on Wednesday that the Minister of Environment, David Heurtel, has granted a provisional monopoly to Premier Tech, which employed Marc-Yvan Côté, due to regulations on septic systems.

The CAQ’s house leader, François Bonnardel, stated that the government had put an end to this monopoly only last week, while Sam Hamad was at the heart of a controversy involving Premier Tech.

The CAQ connects this decision benefitting Premier Tech to Marc-Yvan Côté, who was arrested recently by the UPAC. The Journal de Montréal reported that in a 2008 email exchange, Marc-Yvan Côté tells André Côté, former VP of Roche, that “everything has been organised” with Premier Tech’s big boss. André Côté answered that he wanted to finance the campaign of Liberal MNA Germain Chévarie, whose brother is a municipal consultant who has been “pushing our isolated dwellings treatment project since the beginning”. “The Liberals do not smell too good in this septic tank issue, where we can see the dealings that took place already in 2008”, supports François Bonnardel, while asking David Heurtel for explanations.

Sam Hamad Removed From Council: Liberal Failure Acknowledged

 

 2 April 2016

The withdrawal of Sam Hamad as Chair of the Treasury Board is very serious. The CAQ house leader, François Bonnardel, believes that it was a mistake for the Prime Minister to reiterate his trust in his minister, before waiting for the results of the investigation.

The departure is yet another sign showing that the Liberal monopoly is worn out. It is becoming more and more obvious that Quebecers are stuck with a government that expired early, informed François Bonnardel. “It appears that Philippe Couillard has just broken his most important election promise: To put an end to the scandals relating to the Liberal party, and to eliminate the public’s doubt regarding the integrity of his team. Furthermore, Philippe Couillard does something I have never seen done before; he reiterates his trust towards a minister…but removes him from the ministry! Like all Quebecers, he should trust him only when the investigation’s results are disclosed by the Ethics Commissioner”, reacted François Bonnardel.

The member for Granby added that, given the important disclosures made on the program Investigation (“Enquête”); the PLQ must place in a fund, all the money collected for the party by Marc-Yvan Côté. Also, Sam Hamad must be excluded from the Liberal caucus for the duration of the investigation. Bonnardel recalls that, only last week at the National Assembly, Philippe Couillard stated that the practices of his party are “exemplary”. Yet, the email exchanges exposed by Radio-Canada lead to believe otherwise.

“More than ever, the occurrences of the last few weeks ought to drive the Liberal party to reimburse illegal money. Too many questions remain unanswered, and there is too much doubt to dispel. Yet another alteration to the Council of Ministers conveys how out of touch this government truly is”, concluded the CAQ’s house leader.

UPAC Arrests: PM Must Apologize and Repay

 

 17 March 2016

Following the arrests on Thursday morning by the Permanent Anticorruption Unit (UPAC), the CAQ critic for integrity and member for Montarville, Nathalie Roy, asked the Prime Minister, Philippe Couillard, for a formal apology in the name of the QLP, as well as a solid commitment to repay all the illegal money collected. The CAQ considers this scandal to be far worse than the Liberal sponsorship scandal.

“During the last elections, we have warned Quebecers that a victory for the Liberal party would make for a worse tomorrow. This morning, everyone in Quebec woke up hungover. The UPAC arrests on Thursday are disturbing, the criminal charges are very serious and will entail dire consequences. We ask the Prime minister to take an oath that no other members of the Liberal party will be charged with corruption”, stated Nathalie Roy.

The CAQ member added that Nathalie Normandeau was not just another Liberal minister, but the Deputy Premier who sat at the Priority Committee of the previous Liberal government. In addition, Philippe Couillard’s current Council of Ministers still counts 13 people who chaired with Mme Normandeau. “As the Liberal Leader, Philippe Couillard needs to show that his party today is above reproach, but he may not dissociate from the times when the reproached facts indeed happened. He was a Liberal minister between 2003 and 2008, and the money collected illegally between 2000 and 2012 is still in the Liberal party’s coffers! In order to act in good faith, the money should be reimbursed. I remind you that in the Liberal sponsorship scandal, the LPC put aside money in a trust and then refunded every last penny to make sure that they are not campaigning with tainted money”, recalled Nathalie Roy.

The PQ’s Hands Are Also Dirty 

The critic for integrity emphasized that two former employees of the PQ were equally subjected to the same charges. “For this reason, we are equally asking the PQ Leader, Pierre Karl Péladeau, to apologize and to warrant a refund for all sums collected through any corrupted ploy”, concluded Nathalie Roy.