Quebec government probes top officials at FTQ Solidarity Fund

The Quebec government says it wants to make sure one of the province’s top venture capital funds is properly managing the billions of dollars in assets in which more than 600,000 Quebecers have invested.

The National Assembly holds hearings into how Solidarity Fund leaders make investment decisions

Michel Arsenault, Chair of the FTQ Solidarity Fund, says the board put stricter rules in place in 2009. (CBC News)

The Quebec government says it wants to make sure one of the province’s top venture capital funds is properly managing the billions of dollars in assets in which more than 600,000 Quebecers have invested.

The Quebec’s Federation of Labour (FTQ) Solidarity Fund has been under fire in the last few weeks after the province’s anti-corruption inquiry heard allegations of conflict of interest and organized crime involvement.

But the Solidarity Fund's top managers, including Chairman Michel Arsenault, said at Tuesday’s hearings that the allegations mentioned at the Charbonneau commission were all said to have taken place before 2009.

They say that since then, the board has enforced enforced stricter rules such as more oversight, veto power for independent managers and a more stringent code of ethics.

Opposition says more changes needed

Both the Liberal Party and the Coalition AvenirQuébec (CAQ) say the Solidarity Fund is too cozy with the FTQ.

Quebec Liberal leader Philippe Couillard says the Solidarity Fund needs more independent board members. (CBC News)

Liberal leader Philippe Couillard points to the current practice of having the president of the FTQ union also serve as the Solidarity Fund Chair as an example.

“There's too much proximity between the union and the Fund. I don't think the Chair of the Board of the Fund should be the same as the union, and there should be more independent members on the Board,” Couillard said.

Quebec Premier Pauline Marois said she is open to making changes, but the government will take its time before it reaches any decisions.

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