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Report recommends reversal of reprimand against ex-MP Surprenant

Photo: Jacques Boissinot Archives The Canadian Press MP Claude Surprenant, in 2017

A report tabled Thursday recommends the cancellation of a reprimand pronounced by the National Assembly six years ago against former CAQ MP Claude Surprenant concerning the management of public funds by his constituency office .

The ad hoc commissioner for ethics and professional conduct, Dominique Bélanger, concluded that new facts have an impact on the recommended sanction since they “bring a very different perspective from that which the commissioner at the time had on the question of the financial management of the constituency office, the credibility of Deputy Surprenant and a fortiori on the recommendation of a sanction.”

These new facts are linked to the recognition of guilt of Julie Nadeau, former political attaché at the Groulx constituency office and witness in the 2017 investigation, to charges of fraud, use of forgery and perjury in link with facts occurring during the exercise of his functions as well as during a dispute opposing him to Mr. Surprenant.

In 2017, the Commissioner of The ethics of the National Assembly criticized Claude Surprenant for using public funds to pay employees who did partisan work for him, between 2014 and 2016, while he was a member of the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) .

The report also noted that the MP attempted to “mislead the commissioner” on expense reimbursement issues and concluded that the elected official contravened to the Code of Ethics for elected officials by entrusting contracts to his spouse.

Unprecedented situation

Ms. Bélanger was mandated by Ethics Commissioner Ariane Mignolet, in December, to following a motion by the National Assembly which aimed to determine whether to reopen the investigation which led to his reprimand.

By making his unprecedented recommendation to cancel the reprimand, Ms. Bélanger considered that it was not necessary to reopen the investigation.

According to her, it now appears clearly that what Claude Surprise proclaimed loud and clear that the allegations made by Julie Nadeau were true.

“The fact that he was not believed stems in large part from all of Julie Nadeau’s false allegations,” says the report filed Thursday. Without Julie Nadeau's deception, we can probably think that the commissioner at the time would not have concluded that Claude Surprenant was acting in bad faith. »

The recommendation to cancel his sanction now depends on the action that the elected representatives of the National Assembly decide to give it.

On the government side, the office of parliamentary leader Simon Jolin-Barrette has indicated that it will take the time to read the report before ruling.

The official Liberal opposition has also reserved its comments until the report has been analyzed.

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