Jacques Boissinot The Canadian Press Former prime minister Pauline Marois does not regret for a moment having affixed her signature at the bottom of the missive, which asked the current Minister of Health to revise his Bill 15.
Pauline Marois defends the donors of large health foundations — including the Desmarais family — whom she supported this week in a letter co-signed with five other former prime ministers. The process was done according to the rules of the art, she assures.
“That’s a question I asked, which is: “Is everything correct and in compliance with the lobbying law?” And I was told yes,” said Ms. Marois on Saturday at the entrance to the national council of the Parti Québécois in Saint-Hyacinthe.
The former PQ elected official does not regret for a moment having put her signature at the bottom of the missive, which asked the current Minister of Health to revise his Bill 15 to avoid the loss of “the legal entity and autonomy” of university hospitals and research institutes. In its current form, argued the six former prime ministers, Bill 15 would “have unfavorable effects” on philanthropic financing.
However, Friday afternoon, the lobbying commissioner of Quebec, Jean- François Routhier, took up his pen to express doubts about the approach.
“The public nature of this letter gives it an aura of transparency. But is that really the case? “, he writes in a post published on the Commissioner’s website. “If a lobbyist had forwarded such a letter to the Minister of Health, they would have been required to comply with the disclosure requirements under the Act. »
The approach was initiated by major health foundations, Ms. Marois agreed on Saturday. But “I am old enough, I have enough experience to be able to make my decisions,” she said.
Le Journal de Québecrecalled this week that one of the institutions behind the letter, the Montreal Heart Institute Foundation, is largely financed by the Desmarais family. The latter is well known for her opposition to the sovereignist project promoted by former Prime Minister Marois.
In an interview with Le Devoir on Friday, Ms. Marois justified her choice to sign the letter despite everything. “You know, Quebec has been poor for a long time. We are starting to see the emergence of what we call a Quebec Inc., with a little more means and which is capable of contributing to its community through philanthropy,” she said.
“I was a little shocked to see that we wanted to condemn people because they have, yes, significant fortunes. They could also keep it for themselves, invest it elsewhere, but they decide to invest it in the Quebec community and to do it in high-quality institutions,” she continued.
Christian Dubé did not change his position this week, despite the letter from the former prime ministers. He reiterated this week that university hospitals and institutes must “work better together.”