Liberals in hot seat after Normandeau's arrest
Published Tuesday, March 22, 2016 8:23PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, March 22, 2016 9:54PM EDT
The Couillard government is on the defensive after former Liberal deputy premier Nathalie Normandeau was arrested by UPAC last week.
Normandeau, once a political rising star in the Charest leadership, is facing charges of conspiracy, bribery and fraud.
The premier, meantime, is facing questions about political party financing.
“It's the first time ever that a vice premier has been accused of significant charges,” said PQ leader Pierre Karl Peladeau.
Days later, that bombshell is still creating aftershocks at the National Assembly.
On Tuesday, the government was attacked from all sides, grilled about political party financing.
Premier Philippe Couillard said the Liberals will reimburse every dollar the director-general of elections Quebec asks for.
CAQ leader Francois Legault said Couillard is only willing to go back seven years and that won't cover any illegal donations made from 2000 to 2009.
The Charbonneau Commission revealed Liberal ministers were at one time expected to raise $100,000 per year. Critics say that requirement created conditions for abusing the system, and put ministers under pressure to raise money by any means necessary.
“In order to comply with the requirement of the machine - the Liberal machine - that was gathering money, collecting money, in return for contracts,” said Quebec solidaire MNA Amir Khadir.
“I'm not saying things are perfect, but they're way, way better than they were,” said Couillard, who said the rules of the game have changed.
“The only fundraising we do now is at the level of our ridings - directly to the people, very small amounts. As you know the maximum is $100,” he said.
As for Normandeau, Couillard said she should be presumed innocent until proven guilty.