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Quebec public security minister paid private company $1,375 to write speech

Quebec Public Security Minister François Bonnardel. (LA PRESSE CANADIENNE/Jacques Boissinot) Quebec Public Security Minister François Bonnardel. (LA PRESSE CANADIENNE/Jacques Boissinot)
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Quebec Public Security Minister François Bonnardel paid a private communications agency $1,375 to write one of his speeches.

The transaction was revealed Tuesday by Quebec Liberal Party (PLQ) MNA Jennifer Maccarone during a study on budgetary appropriations of the Public Security Ministry, which is an exercise in accountability.

"Mr. Minister, do you have press attachés?" asked Maccarone, saying she found it "curious," to say the least, that a minister would outsource the writing of a speech to the private sector.

The speech in question was on Bill 14 to modernize policing, which was passed on Oct. 3 and assented two days later.

"Yes, one," replied Bonnardel, referring to his political attaché Maxime Bélanger.

Maccarone went on to say that she had been "astonished" to learn from the books that the minister had called on Montreal's Agence Média Presse to write the speech.

"Your press attachés don't write speeches for you?" she asked. "I write my speeches on my own, I don't have a press attaché, (...) but you paid someone to write this speech for you?"

The Liberal politician added that the contract was concluded by mutual agreement, that is without a call for tenders.

"I assume all the press attachés were busy?" she continued.

Bonnardel argued that the order had not been placed by his office but rather by the ministry's communications branch.

"There's a difference," he said.

"It's still a lot of money, $1,375 to write a speech," retorted Maccarone. "Maybe you need to hire more press officers. I don't know."

-- This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on April 24, 2024. 

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