Relaxing the ethical rules: no, say the opposition parties


They close the door to the intentions of Prime Minister Francois Legault, in the wake of the current controversy surrounding his Minister of the Economy, Pierre Fitzgibbon.

Last week, the Chief Caquist said in the House that the act should be reviewed to give more time to a minister to sell his interests in companies after his appointment.

The current rules of the Code of Ethics give a minister 60 days to dispose of his or her interests in a publicly traded company or assign them to a blind trust, but in the case of private companies not listed on the stock exchange, the Minister can keep his interests unless the company deals in some way with the government.

It requires the agreement of the other parties represented in the Assembly to modify the Code of Ethics and they all answered no.

In an interview with Canadian Press released Thursday, Official Opposition Critic for Ethics Dominique Anglade said “There is no justification today for reopening the Code of Ethics. “.

According to her, the Caquist government is currently swimming in a conflict of interest and is therefore simply trying to deflect attention.

She criticizes Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon for appointing his friend and business partner, Guy LeBlanc, as head of Investissement Québec, almost doubling his salary compared to his predecessor.

“You do not even need the Code of Ethics to conclude that there is a conflict of interest,” Anglade quipped, adding that the excuse given by the Prime Minister is stitched white.

“I agree that the rules are binding, but I understand the need to comply, so that the public can understand the decision that has been made, sees where we are going.”

If ethical thinking is to be debated, it must be informed by the Commissioner’s leads or recommendations and must be “upstream”, not when controversy arises.

Quebec Solidaire (QS) has increased. The member for Rosemont, Vincent Marissal, argues that it should rather aim to tighten the rules, not to “edify” the Code.

“With all that we have known in Quebec, we do not need less, we need more,” he said in a telephone interview. The problem does not come from the Code itself, but from the minister and his appointments, he lamented.

Similarly, the Parti Québécois (PQ) does not “absolutely” want to relax the Code of Ethics. The Code exists to prevent conflicts of interest and gives the elected representative credibility in front of his constituents for his actions as public office holder, argued René-Lévesque PQ, Martin Ouellet. .

“The financial loss is flat, but the Code is not there to fill the bank account of the minister and people who embark on politics,” he said in a telephone interview.

It may be “appropriate” to clarify the rules and make them more stringent, to facilitate the work of the Ethics Commissioner, he concluded.

Remember that an elected representative has the opportunity to consult and ask the Commissioner for an opinion. The Prime Minister said last week that Mr. Fitzgibbon was accompanied by the Commissioner.

However, in response to a question from the official opposition, Mr. Legault was forced to say that he was accompanied by his “investments”, not the process of appointing the new boss of Investissement Quebec.

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