The day after the Quebec election, premier-designate Philippe Couillard promised he wouldn’t make any compromises on integrity.
“If there are proven facts, serious things, they will certainly be verified prior to appointment. We need to demonstrate and practice the greatest possible amount of control and transparency,” Couillard declared.
Now that’s being put to the test.
Radio-Canada’s team of investigative journalists on the Enquête program obtained a document that suggests at least three investigations are ongoing into people who were at one point involved with the Liberal Party of Quebec under Jean Charest — including a Liberal MNA who was just re-elected in last week’s provincial election. Radio-Canada has not revealed the name of the sitting MNA.
In addition to UPAC’s already-known Project Lierre and Project Joug investigations, there is Project Justesse. Quebec’s anti-corruption unit is looking into suspicions of:
- Breach of trust.
- Illegal transactions.
- Illegal financing of the Liberal Party.
UPAC documents reveal other MNAs
Other documents made public today show that UPAC investigators were looking for information specifically related to former Liberal MNA Nathalie Normandeau when it secretly raided Liberal Party headquarters last July.
That search was kept secret from the media for two months.
- Nathalie Normandeau fundraiser was subject of UPAC search
- Former Quebec deputy premier denies role in dodgy donations
- Quebec Liberal headquarters raided by anti-corruption unit
The now-public documents in question related to Normandeau’s involvement in the awarding of a provincial subsidy to Roche, a Quebec engineering firm, for a water treatment plant project in Boisbriand, Que.
Marc-Yvan Côté was an MNA under the Robert Bourassa government, between 1989 and 1994. He went on to work for engineering firm Roche.
Nathalie Normandeau served as an MNA for Bonaventure in the Gaspé region between 1998 and 2011. She was Jean Charest’s deputy premier between 2007 and 2011.
Violette Trépanier was first elected in 1985 in Dorion and served the Liberals as an elected official until 1994. She was the head of fundraising for the Liberal Party of Quebec from 2001 to 2013.
Normandeau, who was municipal affairs minister at the time, overruled senior bureaucrats to award the $11-million contract to engineering firm Roche.
Roche also fundraised for Normandeau during her time as an MNA and Liberal candidate. Roche's Quebec City headquarters were raided by UPAC investigators in January.
Normandeau was also linked to a straw man, or prête-nom, scheme in which people donated money that wasn't their own to the Liberal Party. Five people who attended a 2008 fundraiser for Normandeau and donated money were fined in October 2013.
Normandeau responded late Wednesday in a statement, saying that she always acted with “integrity, rigour and honesty” while serving as an MNA.
Other former Liberal MNAs, Marc-Yvan Côté et Violette Trépanier, have been named in UPAC documents as well.
The Liberals, for their part, did not comment extensively but did say the party wanted the truth without compromise and that it would continue collaborating with authorities.
No MNA or party member has been charged in connection with these allegations.