Opposition calls out Couillard's relationship with Marc-Yvan Coté
Published Wednesday, May 31, 2017 2:10PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, May 31, 2017 10:04PM EDT
Premier Philippe Couillard has "no credibility" when it comes to ethical issues, according to the Parti Quebecois.
Jean-Francois Lisée launched that accusation Wednesday in discussing the latest revelation about links between Couillard and disgraced former minister Marc-Yvan Coté.
“If there was a single person in Quebec who still believed that Couillard had credibility on these ethical questions, today, he must conclude that the emperor has no clothes,” said Lisée.
Coté was by UPAC and prior to that, banned from the federal Liberal Party for his role in the sponsorship scandal.
The incident involving Couillard and Coté dates to 2012, when Coté was working for an engineering firm. He is currently facing charges of conspiracy, corruption, and fraud tied to allegations of illegal fundraising and offering bribes in exchange for government contracts.
In March of this year, amid allegations that Coté had helped his leadership bid, Couillard said that was not the case and that is staff were under orders not to do anything with Coté.
Couillard also said that he had only met Coté once at a fundraising dinner.
Now the Journal de Montreal has obtained emails which show Couillard and Coté corresponded before Couillard returned to politics.
Those emails indicate that Couillard tried to call Coté several times, and offered to help him "brainstorm" ideas about how to deal with the accusations.
"I tried to call you on your cell to discuss the media, etc. Anyway, if you feel like talking with a friend and brainstorming don't be shy," the email read
Coté responded, “Philippe, thanks for making contact and for renewing your friendship. It helps me get through some difficult times. I will call you next week. Regards to Suzanne."
Couillard even offered Coté room at his cottage.
"Perfect, any time. If you want to come up to the lake and relax, the door is always open," wrote Couillard.
Speaking during question period on Wednesday, Couillard said he was just being a decent human being.
The PQ's leader scoffed at that notion.
"Clearly Mr. Couillard is not to be believed on any of these issues," said Jean-Francois Lisée.
"Had he wanted to come clean on every aspect of his relationship with Mr. Coté he had ample occasion to do so."
Finance Minister Carlos Leitao said the insinuations that Couillard had acted improperly were ridiculous.
Quebec Solidaire MNA Amir Khadir said that as far as he was concerned, Couillard was a leader among liars.
CAQ Leader Francois Lisee also joined in on the finger pointing.
“I see that as a lack of judgment, and I think that Quebecers right now have to ask themselves, do we want a premier who doesn't have good judgment?” he said.
Couillard refused to take questions from journalists.