Fitzgibbon must avoid putting his feet in the dishes

Fitzgibbon must avoid putting his feet in the dishes

UPGRADE DAY

The feet in the dishes, once again. The sprawling Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon finds himself again in a situation of apparent conflict of interest.  

Why ? Because Pierre Fitzgibbon, together with the members of his cabinet, the senior management of his Ministry of the Economy, the leaders of Investissement Québec and the Economic Development Fund, is playing “hidden”. with investments made in companies where he was previously involved.

Fitzgibbon and his associates prefer not to publish any press release on the said investments, as was the case in November 2021 for investments of 50 million dollars in the company LMPG (Lumenpulse). 

As a result, when journalists manage to get their hands on such news, Fitzgibbon once again finds himself in the hot seat of the appearance of a conflict of interest since it raises suspicion.  

Note that This is not Fitzgibbon's 'first' appearance of a conflict of interest, he who has paraded a few times in front of the Ethics Commissioner of the National Assembly of Quebec, Ariane Mignolet. 

Another “  beautiful» example, this morning.  

In the article ” Quebec has invested $50 M on the sly in a company close to Fitzgibbon “, my colleague Sylvain Larocque reports that in November 2021, Investissement Quebec (IQ) bought for $26 million  ;$ of shares in LMPG, the parent company of lighting products maker Lumenpulse.  

And at the same time, the Ministry of the Economy (MEI) acquired $24 million worth of shares in the company. For which an investment of $24 million, Minister Fitzgibbon gave his “authorization”.  

CONFLICT OF INTEREST?  

Wondering where the problem is with the appearance of a conflict of interest?  

It lies in the following fact: “At the time of the transaction, reports Sylvain Larocque, one of the shareholders and current members of the board of directors of LMPG, Michel Ringuet, acted as agent of the trust without the right of inspection of the Minister Fitzgibbon. »  

In summary: Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon has authorized an investment of $24 million in a company (LMPG) where the agent of his own trust (Michel Rinfret ) is also a director of the said company. What's more, Fitzgibbon is also the minister responsible for Investissement Québec, which at the same time injected $26 million into the purchase of LMPG shares.  

And the cherry on the sundaewhich amplifies the appearance of a conflict of interest: Pierre Fitzgibbon was a director of Lumenpulse for several years, from 2013 to 2017. 

FITZGIBBON DOESN'T SEE IT  

Questioned yesterday morning by Philippe-Vincent Foisy of QUB radio, Minister Fitzgibbon flatly rejected any appearance of conflict of interest in this investment story of $50 million in the purchase of LMPG (Lumenpulse) shares. He says he has nothing to be ashamed of.  

If there was no public announcement about these investments, it is because it was of a private company, he suggests. The rules of good governance, he said, were respected.  

That said, the Parti Québécois yesterday asked the Ethics Commissioner to “shed some light” on this story of financial aid of $50 million  which was paid to LMPG. 

TRANSPARENCE OBLIGE… 

As we know, Pierre Fitzgibbon wears several ministerial hats: Minister of Economy, Innovation, Energy; Minister responsible for Regional Economic Development; and Minister Responsible for Greater Montréal and the Montreal Region.  

If his boss, the Prime Minister, François Legault, wants to prevent his sprawling and powerful Minister Fitzgibbon from repeating the headlines of appearances of conflict of interest, he has only to order that all investments made in related companies be made public. close to the past of his minister's entrepreneur.  

Private business does not have to dictate to the Quebec government whether or not it should announce such or such investment news!   

By the way, in the case of the $50 million investment in LMPG, the company never asked Minister Fitzgibbon, MEI, or Investissement Québec not to release the information.&nbsp ; 

« LMPG Inc. does not intervene in the decision-making concerning the communication relating to the investments by the partner companies. As a private company, we choose not to issue press releases during investments and we focus on disseminating information relating to our operations and products,” says the company spokeswoman, Marie-Pier Jodoin. 

Companies linked to Fitzgibbon

Here is the list of companies with which Pierre Fitzgibbon has had business ties in the past, according to his own biography published on the National Assembly website.

  • Managing Partner, Walter Capital Partners (2015-2018)  
  • President and CEO, Atrium Innovations (2007-2014)   
  • Vice-President, Board of National Bank Financial, National Bank Group (2002-2007)  
  • Various positions in finance, business development and business development: Telesystem Mobiles International, Chase Capital Partners Hong Kong, Domtar and Peerless Carpet  
  • Audit and advisory services: PricewaterhouseCoopers  
  • Member of various Boards of Directors: Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, WSP, Héroux-Devtek, Transcontinental Group, Cycle Capital Fund, Neptune Technologies, Lumenpulse and Arianne Phosphate Inc.