Party financing | Elections Quebec ready to tighten the rules

(Quebec) The Élections Québec organization is ready to tighten and clarify the rules for popular financing of political parties, The Canadian Press has learned.

While the CAQ government has been in turmoil for several days due to its fundraising methods involving ministers, Élections Québec recognizes that the presence of a minister at a fundraising activity raises a “risk”.

The opposition unanimously denounced a CAQ “solicitation system” or a “financing scheme” targeting mayors who are invited to meet ministers in exchange for a $100 donation to the party fund.

The Canadian Press revealed earlier this week that nearly half of Quebec’s mayors had contributed to the CAQ kitty since the 2021 municipal elections.

In an email, Élections Québec expressed fears regarding potential exchanges of favors or conflicts of interest and the organization expressed its openness to the legislator with a view to possible tightening of the laws.

“The presence of a minister at a fundraising activity, however, raises the risk that an exchange occurring within the framework of the activity could result in a decision having the appearance of constituting an advantage provided in exchange for a contribution,” said writes the spokesperson for Élections Québec in his message to The Canadian Press.

He recalls that the Election Act provides that no advantage or consideration can be offered to a voter in exchange for a contribution.

Participation in a fundraising activity does not in itself constitute a problem, he clarified, but “the question therefore touches on the issue of the integrity of political financing if, following a fundraising activity, a minister made a decision which would constitute, in an apparent or real manner, a benefit provided in exchange for a contribution.”

If parliamentarians want to undertake a “reflection” on this issue, “Élections Québec is ready to collaborate with parliamentarians in order to clarify the application of the rules regarding political financing or to update the provisions of the Election Act in this area” , indicated the spokesperson.

Remember that two CAQ deputies, Louis-Charles Thouin and Sylvain Lévesque, are currently the subject of an investigation by the Ethics Commissioner of the National Assembly concerning their financing activities.

In a message obtained by The Canadian Press, Mr. Thouin, who is the Member of Parliament for Rousseau, told the mayors of the MRC of Montcalm that he had to raise “funds for the next elections” and he offered them a private cocktail. with the Minister of Transport, Geneviève Guilbault, at a cost of $100 per admission, on February 8.

Last week, Radio-Canada revealed that a citizen who wanted her MP, Sylvain Lévesque, to advance her file was offered to meet the Minister of Finance, Eric Girard, in exchange for a contribution of $100 to the party fund.

In another message obtained by The Canadian Press, the MP for Orford, Gilles Bélanger, invited municipal elected officials from the MRC of Memphrémagog to meet Mme Guilbault last November in exchange for a payment of $100 to the CAQ.

Finally, the member for René-Lévesque, Yves Montigny, sent an invitation to an entrepreneur from his region to meet the Minister of Agriculture, André Lamontagne, in exchange for a contribution of $100, revealed Québec solidaire (QS ) Tuesday.


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