PQ draws fire over allegations staffers draw salaries from public funds
Published Friday, January 13, 2017 1:42PM EST
Last Updated Friday, January 13, 2017 7:12PM EST
A report suggesting the Parti Quebecois is using public money to pay some staffers who organize partisan events has the party’s rivals demanding an investigation.
According to a report in the Journal de Quebec published on Friday, at least five staff members working for PQ whip Carole Poirier are being paid out of a National Assembly budget despite primarily working on partisan political projects, such as cocktail parties, across the province out of the PQ’s Montreal office.
“We applied the rules and we constantly verify. Weekly, we verify points that are in gray areas,” said PQ leader Jean-Francois Lisee. “They have to work with the people. They have to go in their regions. They have to help the party connect with citizens. I don't want to see them in the National Assembly.”
A spokesperson for Coalition Avenir Quebec said that under National Assembly rules, those staffers should be paid out of PQ coffers. In order to be eligible to be paid out of a National Assembly budget, staffers must work primarily on policy issues, rather than partisan campaigns.
“It’s clear for the Liberal Party, it’s clear for Quebec Solidaire and it’s clear to us, so it’s just for the PQ it seems not to be clear,” said CAQ MNA Eric Caire. “That’s the reason why we’ve asked the (National Assembly) president to trigger an inquiry into that issue.
Members of the CAQ have also asked for a special meeting of the Office of the National Assembly, a body consisting of MNAs from all parties that works to set out administrative rules.
While both the Liberals and QS have agreed to that request.
“We'll participate fully,” said Lisee.
These allegations of misusing public money come on the eve of the PQ's weekend national council meeting.
Lisee said the timing of the allegations shows the other parties are worried now that the PQ ‘has the wind in its sails.’