Ethical questions dog campaign trail for PQ, Liberals
Published Wednesday, March 26, 2014 11:56AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, March 26, 2014 6:51PM EDT
Two weeks before the vote, the election campaign has become a question of which leading party has higher ethical standards.
On Tuesday the Parti Quebecois admitted that investigators from the provincial anti-corruption squad had met two directors in an "informal fashion" to discuss party financing earlier this year, only to have UPAC sources inform reporters that the squad is actually investigating the PQ for fundraising fraud.
Meanwhile the PQ has lodged a formal complaint that at some point in the past decade the Liberal party has collected $428,000 through illegal fundraising, based on information revealed in court documents that were unsealed in March.
While making an announcement regarding cultural funding, Premier Pauline Marois was asked why the PQ had said only that UPAC investigators had "met" two PQ directors, and not said that UPAC was investigating the party.
"UPAC asked some information about the way we used to finance our party. They did not ask [for] any document , they did not do any seizure, so that was not the case for the Liberal party," said Marois.
Couillard said he was also told this year by UPAC not to inform the public about their investigation, but chose to do otherwise with an hour-long news conference.
He said on Wednesday that the Liberal party is trying to determine what happened to this $428,000 supposedly collected on its behalf.
"It's a large amount. Significant questions of course must be asked but they are being asked. There's a police inquiry going on about that so that is significant in itself," said Couillard.
"If anybody has done anything wrong we want to know the truth and by the way all the 50,000 members of our party want to know the truth and want people to be accountable for that."
CAQ says it has not been investigated
Meanwhile the Coalition Avenir Quebec is denying a PQ statement that UPAC is questioning all parties.
The CAQ says to date, it has not had any discussions with police or UPAC investigators regarding campaign financing.
Leader Francois Legault also said Wednesday he will reveal his assets and those of his wife, in response to a challenge Couillard issued to all the party leaders Tuesday.
"I have no skeletons in my closet," he said.
UPAC has put a hold on all investigations of political parties during the election campaign.
Pauline Marois faces ethical questions on the campaign trail (March 26, 2014)
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