Hydro Quebec donation stirs up controversy
College Notre-Dame has turned down a $250,000 donation from Hydro Quebec amid a flurry of controversy.
The power utility's CEO Thierry Vandal sits on the private high school's board of directors and is also a former student, prompting complaints that he's used his position at Hydro Quebec to funnel money into a private school that doesn't need the funding.
The power utility planned to provide a five-year, $250,000 donation to the school, the first $50,000 of which was donated last year.
Natural Resources Minister Nathalie Normandeau said Hydro Quebec needs to review its educational donation policies.
"Hydro Quebec has to focus its priorities toward the public sector," said Normandeau.
Two years ago, the Lester B. Pearson school board's director Marcus Tabachnick approached Hydro Quebec for a donation to its Pearson Electrotechnology Centre. Many of its graduates go on to work at the public utlitity. The donation was refused.
"As a public institution and a public corporation working for each other and developing trades people for them, I think we had a natural fit," said Tabachnick. "If a Crown corporation wants to spend some of their money on the school system, and I think is a good thing, the public school system is the place to do it."
Officials from College Notre-Dame said it refused the donation, because it was not worth the controversy.
"Our primary mission is to educate and we're about to receive 1,600 students to two weeks. We have to work for these students, and we have no place for a controversy like this," said the college's secretary-general Vincent Gregoire.