1706126791 Ethics Officer The opposition calls for an investigation into

Ethics Officer | The opposition calls for an investigation into CAQ MP Louis-Charles Thouin –

(Sherbrooke) The opposition is calling for an investigation into the funding practices of CAQ MP for Rousseau, Louis-Charles Thouin.

Posted at 2:06 p.m.


Patrice Bergeron The Canadian Press

The Canadian Press learned Tuesday that Mr. Thouin is asking his municipality's mayors to contribute to the CAQ fund in return for a meeting scheduled for Feb. 8 with Transportation Minister Geneviève Guilbault.

However, Élections Québec requires that a contribution be made to a party “without compensation or consideration.”

In a letter sent Wednesday to the National Assembly's ethics commissioner, Québec Solidaire MP Vincent Marissal, he alleges that Mr. Thouin violated the code of ethics for parliamentarians.

The liberal opposition also called on the ethics commissioner to examine his case.

Even Treasury President CAQ Minister Sonia LeBel refused to say on Wednesday whether her colleague's actions were legal or not.

In his letter, Mr Marissal asks Commissioner Ariane Mignolet to investigate “the CAQ’s financing plans”.

The advertising message sent by Mr. Thouin and obtained by La Presse Canadienne violates several articles of the code of ethics for elected officials, the QS MP believes.

Let us specify that the CAQ MP addressed the 10 elected officials of the MRC of Montcalm and informed them that he needed to raise “funds for the next elections” and that he therefore had a private cocktail with Geneviève Guilbault at the price of 100 $ offered per entry, February 8th.

“The mayors of his constituency who would agree to assist him in this endeavor at their own request would find that they were doing him a service which would then place Mr Thouin in a position of obvious accountability and place him in a situation in which his personal interest could have influence.” Mr. Marissal writes in his application that it would interfere with his freedom of judgment in the exercise of his office, which would violate one of the articles of the Code.

The QS MP then asks questions about the MP's privileged access and the associated interests.

Ethics Officer The opposition calls for an investigation into


The Solidarity Officer for Rosemont, Vincent Marissal

By offering to give the mayors of his constituency, in exchange for a financial contribution, privileged access to a minister with whom they are likely to want to assert multiple interests, has Mr Thouin not favored the interests of these mayors in an insulting way?

Vincent Marissal

He recalls that, according to Article 29 of the Code of Ethics, “a deputy may not solicit, encourage, accept or accept any advantage, for himself or for any other person, in return for an intervention or opinion on a question to which he is entitled. “Be called upon to decide, particularly a question which may be referred to the National Assembly or a committee.”

In a press scrum at the Liberal caucus meeting at a hotel in Thetford Mines, Liberal MP Monsef Derraji stressed that mayors should not pay $100 to meet a minister whose job it is to meet elected officials.

” This is unacceptable. Obviously there is reason for the Ethics Commissioner to examine his situation if he had the right to engage in this type of financing practice. »

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The Liberal MP for Nelligan, Monsef Derraji

The Liberal opposition is “analyzing the content of the emails, the scope of the content of the emails and how he approached people to attend the meeting with the minister,” he added.

Sonia LeBel said she was letting the organizations responsible for conducting the investigation review the situation.

“We will let them speak out if necessary,” she said in a press scrum at the caucus of elected officials at CAQ, which met for two days in Sherbrooke.

She was chief prosecutor of the Charbonneau Commission, which was responsible for investigating allegations of corruption and collusion, but refused to comment on the legality of MP Thouin's actions.

“I cannot say whether there are adjustments or whether the rules were followed in this specific case. I will not comment on a situation that I have no personal knowledge of. »

The Ministry of Transport and its Minister are in constant communication with municipalities on sensitive issues of financing road infrastructure, public transport, road maintenance, new sections, safety, etc.

A meeting with the minister may thus enable a local elected official to advance a dossier, but an elected official who requests a meeting with a minister should not have to pay to hold the meeting.

Mr. Thouin wrote in his message that he would like to “combine business with pleasure” by inviting elected officials to a private cocktail: “Geneviève and I would be pleased to welcome you and discuss with you various topics that “They are on your mind,” including road and public transport issues,” it reads.

Mr. Thouin entered the CAQ caucus on Wednesday morning without speaking to the media.

The Canadian Press requested an interview with Mr. Thouin through his constituency office, to no avail. The parliamentary wing also rejected our interview request.

However, questions were directed at the group's spokesman, Marc Danis, as to why the party was asking local elected officials to contribute to its fund and whether this amounted to influence peddling.

“There is no privileged access,” however, the caucus spokesman said in a text message in response to questions from The Canadian Press.

He said ministers had met “more than 1,000 local elected officials at formal meetings in 2023.”

This is not the first time such a funding approach by the CAQ has come to light.

Last week, Radio-Canada announced that a citizen who wanted MP Sylvain Lévesque to advance her file was offered a meeting with Finance Minister Eric Girard in exchange for a $100 contribution to the party's fund.

National Assembly Ethics Commissioner Ariane Mignolet announced on Monday that she was opening an investigation into the Sylvain Lévesque case.

A former Charbonneau Commission investigator, André Noël, also spoke out against CAQ funding practices.

According to him, this violates the spirit of the law on the financing of political parties in the sense that access to ministers is paid for.

In Quebec, financial contributions to political groups are regulated by the Political Party Financing Act.

Élections Québec requires the donor to certify that “his contribution was made voluntarily, without remuneration or consideration, from his own assets and that it has not been nor will be the subject of any reimbursement.”