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The DGE says he is against the abolition of voter donations

Photo: Jacques Boissinot La Presse canadienne Le directeur général des élections, Jean-François Blanchet, a avancé qu’il faudrait réfléchir à des moyens d’encourager les électeurs à verser de l’argent aux partis politiques.

The Director General of Elections (DGE), Jean-François Blanchet, is against the abolition of voter contributions, which the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) renounced due to a controversy surrounding its fundraising cocktails involving ministers of the government.

While visiting the National Assembly as part of the study of the project to overhaul the electoral map, Mr. Blanchet insisted on the importance of maintaining popular financing. “I am not for the total abolition of citizen contributions,” he declared in an interview with Devoir.

Mr. Blanchet explained that political financing allowed parties to maintain their activist base. “The fact of participating in one way, by making donations, I think that it is still a minimum for the base of the political parties,” he said. In a report published in 2014, the DGE had already taken a position against financing based exclusively on state funds, which according to him would create an “erosion of links with the electorate”.

The names of the donors

On Tuesday, Mr. Blanchet argued that we should think about ways to encourage voters to give money to political parties. “I think these are questions that need to be asked. What makes people feel uncomfortable making contributions ? »

According to the CEO, the allegations that have tainted political financing over the past 15 years have had a negative effect. In this regard, he puts forward the possibility of reviewing the requirement for disclosure of the names of people contributing to party financing. “It’s possible, though, that we have the name, but we don’t necessarily make it public on our website,” he said.

The DGE says he is against the abolition of voter donations

Photo: Courtesy Élections Québec Jean-François Blanchet, Director General of Elections

Facing a succession of controversies caused by the presence of ministers at fundraising cocktails, François Legault announced 10 days ago that the CAQ would stop collecting donations from voters until a way to avoid the negative appearances be found, a measure rejected by the opposition parties. “There will be no more private financing,” the Prime Minister repeated in the House on Tuesday. “Not because there were data contracts in exchange for $100, but because it's too important, integrity is too important, the perception of integrity, then that's the basis of the DNA of the CAQ. »

Mr. Blanchet did not comment on the effectiveness of the measure adopted by the CAQ on this subject. “You will understand that it is my neutrality that is at stake in this,” he explained.

The presence of ministers

Jean-François Blanchet said Tuesday that the controversy sparked by the activities of the CAQ was in line with concerns already expressed in a recent report. He then raised the risk that an exchange between a minister and a donor during a fundraising cocktail could have the appearance of an advantage provided in compensation for a contribution.

The DGE has not commented on the means that could be taken to prevent this situation. “It is possible that there will be fundraising activities, even in the presence of ministers. But that’s the way [that] it’s brought about, if there seems to be a quid pro quo with the fact that you can meet a minister,” he noted.

Faced with the controversy over fundraising cocktails, the leader of the Parti Québécois, Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, announced that he would prohibit his ministers from participating in such events if he was elected to government. The co-spokesperson for Québec solidaire, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, was open to discussing changes to the Electoral Act that would regulate the presence of ministers in political financing activities.

On the subject of the overhaul of the electoral map, Mr. Blanchet affirmed that the current deadlines limited the possibility of exploring a plan B to replace the proposal submitted by the Electoral Representation Commission, which he chairs, which provides for the disappearance of a constituency in Montreal and another in Gaspésie to take into account demographic variations. “There aren’t a ton of possibilities, actually. But again, there is nothing impossible. »

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