Sam Hamad returns to back benches following alleged ethical breach
Sam Hamad is giving up all the bonuses and privileges associated with a cabinet minister, but will remain a Liberal MNA.
This comes one week after a Radio-Canada investigation turned up his name in a series of emails sent by disgraced former Liberal fundraiser Marc-Yvan Côté.
Last week Hamad stepped down as the President of the Treasury Board, but retained the bonus pay granted to cabinet ministers and other privileges.
Thursday Hamad said he needed to do more.
"I hope this does not become a distraction. I am forced to admit I have become one. That is why I have decided to step down from all functions aside from being the MNA for Louis-Hebert, without any other functions," said Hamad.
Premier Philippe Couillard approves of Hamad giving up his privileges.
"Mr. Hamad took a difficult but necessary and courageous decision. It had to be done. I didn't have to convince him. He knew. He felt, like I did, that it was time to do this," said Couillard.
The PQ says Hamad lied about his fundraising goals and they say Couillard failed to act quickly enough.
Couillard acknowledged Hamad had high fundraising targets as a minister but says those days are gone, because the rules have changed.
"It's not wrong to have objectives. What is not right is to have different objective if you are a minister. Why? Because it unfairly creates a perception of cause and effect," he said.
In the week since the report, Hamad has gone to Florida and back, something he admitted on Thursday was a bad decision.
"I was angry and anger is a bad advisor," said Hamad. "I understand the indignation of the population, but I assure you that was not my intention."
The ethical officer of the National Assembly is now investigating the report into Premier Tech and its apparent privileged access to information.
According to the report, Côté and his co-workers referred to Hamad as "Our friend Sam," and implied he was working on their behalf to get them a contract.
Sam Hamad staunchly defends his actions & is confident he will be exonerated by ethics commish; makes statement but takes no questions— Max Harrold (@MHarroldCTV) April 7, 2016
Hamad denied, once again, any involvement with Premier Tech aside from what he would do for any company in Quebec.
"I do work to help advance dossiers, all dossiers that will help Quebecers," said Hamad.
"It is true that I may have discussed this dossier with the company. I did this without revealing any confidential governmental information."
Hamad added that he is innocent of all insinuations, and will continue to co-operate fully with the ethics commissioner.