(Quebec) The Minister of the Economy, Pierre Fitzgibbon, on Wednesday rejected the blame pronounced by the ethics commissioner, considering that he had nothing to be ashamed of.
In the House, Mr. Fitzgibbon rose to say that he had always acted in good faith in his role as Minister and that he had never placed himself in a situation of conflict of interest. He added that he had never personally benefited from his contacts with contractors or lobbyists.
In a long written text, visibly upset, he confessed to finding it “difficult” to have to deal with a reprimand questioning his ethics. In detail, point by point, he denied the Commissioner’s conclusions in each of the cases raised.
But his statement will not change anything as a result of things, because everything indicates that, exceptionally, the National Assembly will sanction Minister Fitzgibbon with one voice, Thursday, during a vote in the House.
According to the rules in force, two-thirds of the deputies present in the Chamber must approve the recommendations of the ethics commissioner so that the blame towards the elected member becomes effective.
Believing that his minister had been reckless, Prime Minister François Legault said last week that his caucus of deputies, which forms the majority of elected officials, would vote in favor of the commissioner’s recommendations, just like the elected representatives of the opposition parties.
In her report, made public last week, the commissioner deplored both the ethical snags in the minister’s behavior, as well as his lack of intention to make amends.
She criticized him above all for being too close to one of his entrepreneur friends, Luc Laperrière, a lobbyist.
In her report, Commissioner Mignolet criticized Mr Fitzgibbon for having placed himself in a situation where his personal interest could influence his independence of judgment in the exercise of his office, because of his close, friendly and financial ties with Mr. Laperrière.
“The fact that a lobbyist, bound by a great relationship of friendship with a member of the Executive Council, and who agrees to buy him shares of a company to do him a favor, can communicate directly with him in order to organize professional meetings harms the maintenance of public confidence in […] democratic institutions, ”she wrote.
“When you occupy a position like that of Minister, it is essential to clearly draw the line between your personal and professional relations. In light of the above, I recommend that a reprimand be imposed on the Minister. », She concluded.
Mme Mignolet also deplored in his report to see Minister Fitzgibbon react to his conclusions by considering that he had nothing to be ashamed of. “I do not denote any real will to change,” she wrote, adding that her attitude had contributed to her decision to recommend a sanction.