Quebec Premier and her husband ordered to testify
Published Thursday, February 20, 2014 9:41PM EST
Last Updated Friday, February 21, 2014 9:09PM EST
Quebec Premier Pauline Marois and her husband Claude Blanchet have been ordered to appear before a committee of the National Assembly once the legislature resumes sitting on March 11, a development that further fuels speculation that a provincial election will be called for sometime around March 2.
The opposition Liberal and CAQ forced the order Thursday, with a motion of 60 votes to 52.
Marois and Blanchet will be asked to explain a $3 million investment made in 2008 by the FTQ solidarity fund in a company owned by Blanchet.
Many critics have questioned whether Blanchet benefited unfairly from the deal.
Critics wants to know why the FTQ paid three times more for the shares than Blanchet did when he purchased them a year earlier.
They also want to ask about a 2009 wiretap that was played recently at the Charbonneau Commission corruption inquiry.
The recording captures the then-president of the Quebec Federation of Labour saying he was ready to enlist the aid of the Parti Quebecois to help thwart a corruption probe, noting the labour union has a "deal with Blanchet."
Blanchet was the head of the FTQ Solidarity fund in the late 1990s.
If Marois and her husband do not appear, they risk being found in contempt by the National Assembly.
The couple will have 15 minutes each to make their case.
Despite the couple insisting they did nothing wrong, the Opposition parties have said they're not satisfied with their responses.
It’s expected, however, that Marois will call an election in early March, in which case the hearing would not take place.
In this file photo, Parti Quebecois leader Pauline Marois greets her husband Claude Blanchet as she arrives at a PQ convention in Montreal, Friday, April 15, 2011, prior to giving her opening address. The CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes