CAQ pushing Premier Marois on ties between union, husband
Published Tuesday, February 4, 2014 10:04AM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, February 4, 2014 7:28PM EST
The Coalition Avenir Quebec is pressuring the provincial government over its close ties with one of Quebec's largest labour unions.
Francois Legault is calling for the head of the QFL Solidarity Fund to step down, following weeks of revelations about corrupt business practices at the Charboneau Inquiry.
Wiretap evidence heard last week suggests the investment fund, designed to increase retirement savings for Quebecers and promote Quebec businesses, gave preferential treatment to projects managed by construction magnate Tony Accurso.
Testimony also shows that Claude Blanchet, the husband of premier Pauline Marois, benefited from several investments in projects.
Legault said that is proof that fund manager Yvon Bolduc lacks judgement.
"We need some answers from Mrs. Marois and we have to understand how come? We've [been] asking since two months that she make some changes regarding the governance of the Fond de Solidarité to make sure that the majority of the members of the board not be related with the F-T-Q and she refuses. Why? Why?" said Legault.
The CAQ wraps up a two-day caucus meeting on Tuesday, and believes Marois's ties to the QFL may be her Achilles heel in the next election.
The party is promising to hound the PQ on its ties to unions, and believes that many Quebecers believe in its message of fiscal responsibility.
Legault said he also hopes to talk to the Liberal party and convince them to convene a parliamentary committee that can subpoena Blanchet and question him about his ties with the QFL.
In wiretaps at the Charbonneau Inquiry, former president Michel Arsenault can be heard saying that he would be able to stop Marois, then opposition leader, from calling a construction inquiry because the union "had a deal" with Blanchet.
Liberal leader Philippe Couillard said on Tuesday that he would not be interested in doing that, while Premier Marois said it would be undignified to bring her husband before a parliamentary committee.
"My husband is an honest businessman who does his work without consulting me. I will not accept pressure being put on my family members," said Marois.
Meanwhile the CAQ, which has not done well in recent opinion polls, believes that many Quebecers believe in its message of fiscal responsibility.
Despite the emotional debate on the proposed Charter of Values the CAQ says most people care more about finding work and the PQ government's poor record on the economy.
Christian Dubé, finance critic, has a meeting with the finance minister on Feb. 11.
He said that if the PQ planned for it, the government could take federal transfer payments and use them to wipe out the deficit and cut taxes.
Dubé said a CAQ government could be counted on to live up to its raison d'etre: creating a strong provincial economy by reducing public spending.
"For example, health taxes we said we would reduce it in the first 2 years as an example. To zero, so it's very clear we said we want to eliminate health taxes and school taxes totally in the first four years of the mandate," said Dubé.