Jacques Boissinot archives La Presse canadienne Stéphane Le Bouyonnec was a CAQ candidate in the 2018 general election in the riding of La Prairie. However, he withdrew before the vote after it was revealed that his company was making loans at extremely high rates, an illegal practice in Quebec.
It's a mess at the Ministry of Cybersecurity and Digital Affairs, so much so that the CAQ government had to make a partisan appointment, a close friend of François Legault, Stéphane Le Bouyonnec.
That's what 'denounced Thursday the leader of the official opposition, Marc Tanguay. According to him, the appointment of Mr. Le Bouyonnec to the post of deputy minister reflects the government's despair in the face of Minister Éric Caire's bungling.
“This is the ministry where, at a given moment, he there were more than 1,100 vacant positions, where […] in one year, there were four [deputy ministers] who left. So, it’s a revolving door,” said Mr. Tanguay.
In the circumstances, the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) chose to call on “a CAQ soldier,” he said. He believes that Stéphane Le Bouyonnec, a former president of the CAQ, received the mandate “to be there then to stay there.”
“There are so few people, I imagine, who want to work with Éric Caire, so they asked a good caquiste to go and help Éric Caire. Probably he will go out less,” joked Mr. Tanguay.
The Ministry of Cybersecurity and Digital Affairs has been tested not only by numerous departures, but also by the fiasco of the SAAQclic system of the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec.
Stéphane Le Bouyonnec was a CAQ MP in La Prairie from 2012 to 2014. Defeated in 2014, he ran again in 2018, but withdrew before the vote after it was revealed that he was a leader of a company that made loans at extremely high rates, a legal activity in Canada except in Quebec, where such a practice is qualified as loan sharking.
“So, I don't know what expertise he a, but clearly, it is someone close to the CAQ who is rewarded for a second time with a partisan appointment,” reacted PQ MP Pascal Bérubé.
In 2020, Mr. Le Bouyonnec had ascended to the position of associate secretary general at the Ministry of the Executive Council, an appointment that was widely described as “partisan” at the time.
On Thursday, Mr. Bérubé tabled a motion at the Salon bleu, jointly with independent deputies Frédéric Beauchemin and Marie-Claude Nichols, emphasizing that the CAQ had ultimately never tabled a bill on partisan appointments.
The Legault government refused to debate the motion.
“[The bill] was never introduced. And what does that mean? Today, a former MP and president of the CAQ is appointed to a position because he is a former MP and president of the CAQ,” said Mr. Bérubé.