MNA Boulet cross-examination focuses on party fundraising
Published Thursday, May 15, 2014 10:30AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, May 16, 2014 7:47AM EDT
A sitting MNA is sticking to her story that even as a cabinet minister, she did not know about a fundraising quota.
Julie Boulet, the Liberal representative for Laviolette, said again on Thursday that she let her staff concentrate on raising funds for the Liberal party.
Under questioning from the lead Inquiry lawyer Sonia Lebel, Boulet said that in was only in 2009 that she heard about a $100,000 annual objective that the Liberal party had for its cabinet ministers -- and that it was when she learned her target had only been met three times.
Boulet said she was surprised to hear her 'poor' riding of Laviolette could raise $100,000, but it turns out the targets were reached during the years she was Transportation minister, when many fundraising events were hosted by engineering firms.
However Boulet said those donations never gave any firm, or any individual, preferential treatment in awarding contracts.
"To my knowledge there was a list of priorities identified by the ministry," said Boulet.
"But when all of them couldn't be done?" asked France Charbonneau.
"They gave us a list that corresponded to the budgetary capacity," said Boulet.
The Inquiry's chair did not believe Boulet, saying "so if I understand correctly, everyone who testified at the commission has lied."
Liberal MNAs say era of targets is over
Away from the inquiry, several cabinet ministers said they knew about the party's fundraising targets, while others claim they did not.
Premier Philipppe Couillard said "we all knew the fundraising targets," and Christine St-Pierre concurred.
She pointed out that at the time, political parties received no support from the public, unlike the current system where public donations are limited to $100, and each vote for a party during an election translates into several dollars of funding.
"We knew we had $100,000 targets. We weren't uncomfortable" with that, said St-Pierre.
However Pierre Moreau, who was a cabinet minister during the Charest government, said "never, never, never was I given a $100,000 target."