Fava to commission: 'Someone is hallucinating'
Published Wednesday, September 22, 2010 6:13PM EDT
One of the central figures at the Bastarache Commission denied Wednesday that he ever lobbied former justice minister Marc Bellemare to name judges.
"I never made any effort and I don't know them at all," Liberal fundraiser Franco Fava testified under cross-examination, adding that he never spoke to former deputy justice minister Georges Lalande about the issue either.
"My first reaction was to think someone is hallucinating," said Fava, saying that the first time he heard the judges' names was last spring.
At the end of the line of questioning into the naming of judges Wednesday, Fava said he was getting extremely fed up with what he called "a vendetta between Bellemare and Charest."
Bastarache scolds Bellemare's lawyer
Earlier in the day, the lawyer representing former justice minister Marc Bellemare angered commissioner Michel Bastarache on more than one occasion while cross-examining Liberal fundraiser Charles Rondeau.
Jean-Francois Bertrand was called to order by Bastarache several times because his questions were judged to be irrelevant by the head of the inquiry into the nomination of judges.
As he adjourned the hearings for a lunch break, Bastarache warned Bertrand that he would not be permitted to continue questioning Rondeau if he insisted on asking him about the fundraising practices of the Liberal Party of Quebec and machinations of government appointments.
The lawyers representing Premier Jean Charest, the government of Quebec and the Liberals also objected to Bertrand's questioning several times during the morning session.
In response to Bertrand's line of questioning, Rondeau revealed that he sometimes plays the role of an MNA by passing along the CV's of people interested in an appointment or even complaints from bidders who didn't manage to land a particular government contract.
Rondeau, a Quebec City chartered accountant who has supported the Liberals for 35 years, also explained that he and Fava decided not to participate in Bellemare's run for mayor of Quebec City in 2005 after he left the provincial government.
Rondeau was undergoing cross-examination Wednesday after testifying one day prior that he suggested to Bellemare that Michel Simard be named chief justice of the Quebec Court. Simard was subsequently named deputy chief justice by Bellemare.
Jean Charest is expected to testify Thursday.