Quebec's economy minister under ethics review linked to Bombardier
Published Tuesday, November 20, 2018 5:32PM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, November 20, 2018 8:37PM EST
The National Assembly's ethics commissioner has opened an investigation focused on Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon and a possible conflict of interest on the Bombardier file.
Fitzgibbon’s personal investments are under the microscope; he owns shares in Heroux-Devtek, a company that supplies parts to Bombardier.
Fitzgibbon was also on the board of directors for the company but resigned the day after he won a seat at the National Assembly.
“I haven't seen my shares since Oct. 2. So I don't know what I own,” said Fitzgibbon, adamant that he’s done nothing wrong. “I think there's no conflict. Zero conflict.”
Fitzgibbon claims his broker is handling his shares and has transferred them from a discretionary account into a blind trust.
His holdings are raising questions among opposition MNAs about his management of the Bombardier file.
Last week, the struggling aerospace company announced 5,000 layoffs, half of which will be in Quebec.
That puts the economy minister in a conflict of interest, said opposition parties.
“I think it's always a double standard. Mr. Legault was talking to us about ethics when he was one of the opposition leaders at the time. You realize that once he is in government, he is much more flexible,” said interim Liberal leader Pierre Arcand.
The PQ called on ethics commissioner Ariane Mignolet to investigate and for the CAQ to keep Fitzgibbon away from the Bombardier file for the time being.
“Premier Legault, if he wants to be different than the Liberals, they just have one thing to do: just pull back Mr. Fitzgibbon (from) the case of Bombardier or the case in aeronautics, and just wait until the commissioner says 'Ok everything is fine. Everything is ok,'” said PQ MNA Martin Ouellet.
Fitzgibbon said he welcomes an investigation because he's convinced he hasn't done anything wrong.
“There are rigid rules that have been set by the ethics commissioner, and all these rules are respected. So too bad that the opposition feels that way, but I don't care. I am at the right place, and I am going to be helpful for these employees,” he said.
Mignolet said she wouldn't be commenting on the probe until she tables her report and her recommendations.