Montreal

Legault stands by economy minister after ethics commissioner calls for reprimand

Quebec Premier François Legault says he will not be reprimanding Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon, as the province's ethics commissioner recommended in a report published earlier today. 

Legault says he has '100 per cent confidence' in Pierre Fitzgibbon

Finance Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon, left, and Quebec Premier Francois Legault held a news conference Tuesday to announce that Fitzgibbon would remain in his post after the ethics commissioner recommended he be reprimanded. (Radio-Canada)

Quebec Premier François Legault says he will not be reprimanding Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon, as the province's ethics commissioner recommended in a report published earlier today. 

In her report, commissioner Ariane Mignolet said Fitzgibbon had acted against the code of ethics governing elected officials in Quebec by retaining shares in three companies. 

Fitzgibbon says he sold his shares in 11 out of 13 companies, but that the last two had been nearly impossible to sell because they weren't publicly traded. 

But when one of them applied for a loan from Investissement Québec, a director realized Fitzgibbon was tied to the company. 

"I told him, 'I don't think you should give him the investment because there's a conflict of interest there,'" Fitzgibbon said at a news conference announcing he would be keeping his post as minister Tuesday afternoon. 

Fitzgibbon said he would still do the same thing today, but called on the government to amend its code of ethics for it to be flexible in situations like his.

This is the second time Fitzgibbon's actions have been criticized by the ethics commissioner.

Legault said his government would be looking into it after the pandemic, and that it would do so by consulting opposition parties. 

"What's important for Quebecers to know is that I have 100 per cent confidence in Pierre Fitzgibbon," Legault said. 

"We couldn't hope to have a better person in his position and I'm happy that he's staying."

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