Quebec's ethics commissioner has ruled that Parti Québécois leadership hopeful Pierre Karl Péladeau breached National Assembly ethics rules.
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Péladeau, who is still a majority shareholder in Quebecor, intervened with Investissement Québec on the sale of Mel's Studios, a Montreal film production company. Quebecor was the only Canadian company bidding.
Péladeau appeared before a legislative committee hearing in July to push for Mel’s Studios to remain in the hands of a Quebec business.
He responded at the time by saying it was his job to keep Quebec businesses in Quebec.
The province's ethics commissioner, Jacques St-Laurent, launched a formal investigation into the situation in October.
On Friday, the ethics commissioner said Péladeau was wrong to have approached Investissement Québec about the sale.
However, Péladeau will not be sanctioned because St-Laurent said he made an honest mistake.
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Péladeau responded just before noon on Friday, saying he had already apologized if he had made an error in judgment.
“I have always acted in the interest of my region, my electoral district and in the interest of Quebec,” he said.
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Mel’s Studios is located in the Montreal neighbourhood of Pointe St-Charles. Péladeau is the MNA for St-Jérôme, an hour outside of Montreal.
He later said he wanted to move Mel’s movie studio to Mirabel’s defunct airport, which is in the riding next door to Péladeau's.
On Friday, he said the ethics rule in question was relatively recent and that he was basing his actions on previous rules that had existed for at least 25 years.
He also said his cycling accident in May made him unable to catch up on all the new rules before he spoke to the legislative committee on keeping Mel’s in Quebec in July.
"When I came back here, I was certainly not in the best shape. Considering I didn’t have the chance to learn what was about the code, so therefore I raised questions which were in relation with my riding, in relation with interest in Quebec companies and therefore I didn’t have the chance to think about this," he said.
"In the future I will refrain myself."