UPAC investigators question PQ directors
A meeting between Quebec's anti-corruption squad and the Parti Quebecois was supposed to be kept secret. But after it was leaked to the media that the meeting took place, the party issued a news release confirming it met with police.
Published Tuesday, March 25, 2014 7:52PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, March 26, 2014 8:15AM EDT
The Parti Quebecois admits that investigators from the provincial anti-corruption squad met two directors in an "informal fashion" to discuss party financing, but there are reports that UPAC is actually investigating the PQ for fundraising fraud.
Those reports say the investigation has been put on hold during the election campaign.
La Presse reports on Wednesday that several anonymous sources have said police were planning action of some kind against the party before the election was called, but will not continue until after voters go the polls on April 7.
The meeting between the PQ directors and UPAC was supposed to be kept secret, but after it was leaked to the media that it took place, the party issued a news release confirming it met with police.
Their decision to corroborate media reports stemmed from the fact that the PQ “did not want to cause confusion” between the situations under which the Liberals and PQ came to be questioned by UPAC.
Police raided Liberal headquarters last July, seeking evidence to use in an investigation into an illegal political financing plot, in which party donations were exchanged for public contracts.
PQ Minister Pierre Duchesne brought up the raids in a formal complaint, made Tuesday on behalf of his party to the Director General of Elections, regarding Liberal party financing.
The PQ's release states that while the Liberals were raided, the PQ was informally asked about its structure and financing methods, questions that were being asked to all political parties.
However, the Coalition Avenir Quebec sent out a missive Tuesday evening saying representatives from that party have never met with police because they've never been asked to.
Sylvain Tanguay, the PQ’s director general, and Pierre Seguin, director of finances and administration, met with investigators in February.
The party says it told police it is funded by voluntary donations, and for each contribution a listing is completed with all donor information and a receipt is issued.
Ethics have been thrust into the spotlight in the election campaign during the past few days.
Earlier Tuesday, Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard challenged the other party leaders to release theirs and their spouse’s tax returns and full details on their financial assets.
In response, PQ Leader Pauline Marois reiterated that Couillard’s team is too similar to the Liberals under former leader Jean Charest.
Charest refused for years to call an inquiry into Quebec’s construction industry until the Charbonneau Commission was formed in 2011.
Parti Quebecois Leader Pauline Marois talks with children during a campaign stop at a daycare centre in Ste-Anne-des-Plaines, Que., on Tuesday, March 25, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz