A meeting of Kateri Champagne Jourdain with Boralex raises ethical questions

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A meeting of Kateri Champagne Jourdain with Boralex raises ethical questions

Kateri Champagne Jourdain, after the announcement of her victory in Duplessis. (archives)

In the middle of the election campaign, the then CAQ candidate in Duplessis, Kateri Champagne Jourdain, who was elected in the election, met with representatives of the energy production company Boralex along with Premier François Legault. At that time, she was still registered as a Boralex lobbyist. Two experts believe that this meeting could represent an ethical problem.

Before being elected on October 3, Ms. Champagne Jourdain was the director of community relations for the wind project Company support. She has not been employed by Boralex since that day, confirms the company.

Boralex also assures that, since the announcement of her candidacy last August, Ms. Champagne Jourdain was on unpaid leave.

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A spokesperson for the Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ) also confirms that the candidate was registered as a lobbyist during the September 27 meeting between Boralex and the chief of the CAQ, François Legault.

He adds that she attended as a CAQ candidate and that it was not a meeting with only Boralex, but with several companies.

We can question ourselves on the ethical level and on the moral level, advances the professor of accounting sciences at the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM), Saidatou Dicko.

“Because indeed, this kind of activity raises questions about the power that can be companies, especially large companies, on our politicians and our public decision-makers. »

— Saidatou Dicko, professor of accounting at UQAM

Saidatou Dicko is a professor of accounting sciences at the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM).

The professor nevertheless reminds that it is not illegal to be registered as a lobbyist while being a candidate.

She says, however, that Kateri Champagne Jourdain should have withdrawn from her role as a lobbyist during the election campaign.

“I remind you, a lobbying activity is activity undertaken for the purpose of influencing public decisions. »

— Saidatou Dicko, professor of accounting at UQAM

Ms. Dicko believes that the law could even be changed eventually to avoid this kind of situation.

Professor of organization and human resources at UQAM, Michel Séguin goes in the same direction. He considers that this meeting of September 27 could represent an ethical problem.

In the sense that the fact of having participated in a meeting like that could sow doubt, puts Mr. Séguin from the front.

He specifies that a deputy must make decisions which seem to him to be the best, objectively, in the interest of the state and the citizens he represents. Without commenting on the specific case of Ms. Champagne Jourdain, he adds that it is important that citizens can have confidence in this objectivity.

“In the event that the Legault government and the MP make a decision to favor this company […], many people could question this objectivity. »

— Michel Séguin, professor of organization and human resources at UQAM

Michel Séguin is a professor of organization and human resources at the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM).

According to Michel Séguin, the CAQ government should take precautions for the decisions that will be made in connection with files that affect, for example, the wind industry. This is called managing conflicts of interest.

“So for a while time, will she be able to take part in decisions when it comes time to discuss wind turbines, for example? »

— Michel Séguin, professor of organization and human resources at UQAM

The expert estimates that within a few years, the link between Mrs. Champagne Jourdain and the company or the wind sector will be less important.

A CAQ spokesperson indicates that Kateri Champagne Jourdain was unable to offer an interview to Radio-Canada on Wednesday.

With information from Charles-Étienne Drouin

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