The federal government will not pay any legal expenses incurred by Quebec's former lieutenant-governor, Lise Thibault, who faces a handful of fraud-related charges.
Thibault, 71, appeared Monday for her preliminary hearing on six charges: two counts of breach of trust, two of fraud and two related to false or counterfeit documents.
"We are not paying for legal fees," a federal official said Monday. He declined to comment on whether Thibault had actually requested any financial assistance with her case.
A lieutenant-governor performs a similar role at the provincial level to the one the governor general does in Ottawa, including major constitutional functions like dissolving Parliament and swearing in new cabinets.
Thibault is charged in the alleged fraud of $700,000 related to expense claims she made between 1997 and 2007, when she served as the Queen's representative in Quebec.
She pleaded not guilty to the charges in October 2009.
Hearing details protected
Details from the preliminary hearing in Quebec City, which is expected to last two weeks, are subject to a publication ban.
Witnesses for the first day of the hearing on Monday included a Quebec provincial police investigator and two of Thibault's former bodyguards.
Thibault has denied any wrongdoing, even though a joint report by the federal auditor general and her Quebec counterpart says she claimed $700,000 in expenses not related to her functions.
The report said some claims were for trips, meals with friends, ski and golf lessons, as well as for the transport of specially adapted golf carts from Quebec to Florida.
Thibault, who uses a wheelchair, did not talk to reporters as she entered the Quebec City courthouse Monday.