Photo: Jacques Nadeau Archives Le Devoir Denis Coderre (here in September 2021) should announce in June whether he is entering the race for leadership of the Liberal Party of Quebec.
Patrice Bergeron – The Canadian Press
A liberal government led by Denis Coderre would let his ministers participate in his party's fundraising cocktails.
This is what the potential candidate for leadership of the PLQ indicated, in the midst of controversy over the financing methods of the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ).
According to him, a fundraising cocktail is an “extraordinary platform” to be better informed and make contact with citizens.
For almost three weeks, the opposition has accused the CAQ of having dangled access to ministers during cocktails in exchange for a $100 donation to the party fund.
However, the law allows any person to contribute to the fund of a political party up to a maximum of $100 per year, but without compensation, and nothing prohibits a minister from participate.
Last Thursday, new controversy: in October the CAQ invited a bereaved couple who were on a crusade to lower the alcohol limit allowed while driving to pay $100 per person in order to speak for two minutes at the Minister of Transport, Geneviève Guilbault.
At the end of January, PQ leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon said that if he took power, he would prohibit his ministers from taking part in fundraising activities, to avoid any conflict of interest.
But a PLQ led by former Montreal mayor Denis Coderre would not follow this path.
In an interview with The Canadian Press, he said that if he was elected leader of the PLQ and formed the next government in 2026, he would continue to let his ministers take part in fundraising activities.< /p>
“I don’t think a journalist can be bought for $100, much less an elected official. If you are purchasable for $100, we have a damn problem,” he said, which echoes what François Legault maintains as an argument, that his ministers are not purchasable.
- The CAQ in embarrassment because of a new fundraising activity
- The CAQ renounces popular financing
If people come to approach him at a cocktail “to talk about their issues, they are there to raise your awareness, that’s correct,” argued Mr. Coderre.
According to him, it is normal for people holding public office such as elected officials to be in contact with citizens, business people or other elected officials who will discuss with them issues that concern them or files to advance.
“I am not a civil servant, if I am elected, I am there to represent a population, so if we have functions, people come to talk to us, not just about the Canadian and the victory of the day before, or the expansion of the National Baseball League, they come to talk to us about their issues and raise our awareness. »
What's more, according to him, an elected official makes a better decision if he is better informed by the interested people, the stakeholders.
“Knowledge is power. By knowing one thing, you will take into consideration what people tell you. [A fundraising activity], it’s an extraordinary platform. »
Mr. Coderre explained his position in an interview just before the controversy involving the grieving couple and Ms. Guilbault, but when called upon to validate that he stood by his point, he reconfirmed.
Last week, the Liberal Party had already suggested that if it formed the next government, it would involve ministers in training financing activities, but the candidates or potential candidates could very well take another position and put the idea into play.
The current legislative framework is sufficient to govern the participation of ministers in activities, there is no need to tighten it, assured the interim Liberal leader, Marc Tanguay. It is the method of solicitation and the consideration that is dangled that poses a problem, according to him.
“The presence of a minister at a fundraising activity, however, raises the risk that an exchange occurring within the framework of the activity could result in a decision having the appearance of constituting an advantage provided in exchange of a contribution”, Élections Québec wrote to The Canadian Press in an email responding to a series of questions on party financing.
The CAQ has been in turmoil since January 23 due to controversies over its fundraising methods.
The Canadian Press revealed messages from CAQ MPs who invited municipal elected officials to party fundraising cocktails, suggesting that this would be an opportunity to advance issues.
Two CAQ elected officials, Sylvain Lévesque and Louis-Charles Thouin, are the subject of an investigation by the Ethics Commissioner of the National Assembly.
The Canadian Press also learned that nearly half of the mayors, or 503 out of 1,138, have contributed to financing the CAQ since the 2021 municipal elections, for a total of nearly $100,000.
Mr. Legault subsequently announced that his party was going to 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.< /p>
Mr. Coderre is expected to announce in June whether he is entering the race for leadership of the Liberal Party.
Last week, a Léger poll commissioned by Quebecor media suggested that a PLQ led by Mr. Coderre would obtain 21% of the votes in a poll, compared to 15% currently with interim leader Marc Tanguay.
27% of respondents think that Mr. Coderre would make a better leader of the PLQ.