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A sixth CAQ MP in hot water for fundraising

Photo: Francis Vachon Le Devoir The CAQ has been at the center of controversy for two weeks for its financing practices and two of its deputies, Louis-Charles Thouin and Sylvain Lévesque, are the subject of an investigation by the Ethics Commissioner of the National Assembly .

Patrice Bergeron – The Canadian Press in Quebec

February 1, 2024

  • Quebec

A sixth CAQ MP is in trouble for her fundraising.

After Louis-Charles Thouin, Sylvain Lévesque, François Jacques, Gilles Bélanger, Yves Montigny, this time, it is Kariane Bourassa, the MP for Charlevoix–Côte-de-Beaupré.< /p>

Mayors were thus able to meet the Minister of Municipal Affairs in exchange for a contribution of $100. The Electoral Act provides that each citizen can contribute $100 to a political party, but they cannot do so to obtain a counterpart.

The Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) has been at the center of controversy for two weeks for its financing practices, following revelations from The Canadian Press. We learned in particular that nearly half of the mayors have contributed to the CAQ kitty since the 2021 municipal elections, for almost $100,000.

Two CAQ deputies, Louis-Charles Thouin and Sylvain Lévesque, are the subject of an investigation by the Ethics Commissioner of the National Assembly and two other requests for investigation have been filed by Quebec in solidarity for deputies Gilles Bélanger and Yves Montigny.

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In a screenshot obtained by The Canadian Press, Ms. Bourassa invites donors to meet with the Minister of Municipal Affairs, Andrée Laforest, on November 23, to “discuss issues that concern you,” it reads, in exchange for a $100 donation to the party fund.

Several mayors took part in the activity, which was held in a hotel in Baie-Saint-Paul. In photos, we see in particular the mayors of this municipality, Michaël Pilote, of La Malbaie, Michel Couturier, of L'Isle-aux-Coudres, Christyan Dufour, of Saint-Siméon, Sylvain Tremblay, and the mayor of Saint-Irénée , Odile Comeau.

Ms. Comeau, as well as Messrs. Pilote, Couturier and Tremblay, all contributed $100 to the CAQ.

It was an employee of the National Assembly, Maxime Tremblay, who was the contact person to obtain “more information” regarding this fundraising activity.

Constituency employees are not supposed to carry out partisan work during working hours, as already recalled by Ethics Commissioner Ariane Mignolet, who said she was “highly concerned” by the use of public funds for partisan purposes by the CAQ in 2022.

“All rules were respected”

The Canadian Press requested an interview with Ms. Bourassa, but the chief whip's office declined. Ms. Bourassa instead issued a written statement, transmitted in a text message from the director of communications in the office of the chief government whip, Marc Danis.

“The invitations for this fundraising activity were made by my committee of activists, with personal emails,” she assured. All rules were respected. I will not allow anyone to question my integrity! »

She continued by emphasizing that “at the CAQ, integrity is a fundamental value, a non-negotiable value. This is also why the Prime Minister announced this morning that our party was going to renounce private financing until the implementation of new rules. »

The Canadian Press sent a list of questions to the spokesperson for the chief whip, including to find out how many mayors participated in the activity precisely, who they are, and how many contributions were received during this activity.

Let us specify that in the case of Sylvain Lévesque, the Ethics Commissioner is investigating the use by a staff member of the Chauveau constituency office, in the exercise of his duties, of computer equipment and the official email address provided by the National Assembly to promote the partisan fundraising activities of the Coalition Avenir Québec.

In the case of Mr. Tremblay, however, he provided his personal address.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116