Sophie Brochu and Pierre Fitzgibbon: Enough “elastic” ethics at the CAQ

Sophie Brochu and Pierre Fitzgibbon: çethics are enough «é elastic” to the CAQ

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Would Prime Minister François Legault agree to offer, on behalf of a private company belonging to, say, his spouse, training (master class) that would be sold to companies and to Crown corporations?

Answer to this highly hypothetical question: absolutely not! The head of the CAQ government knows full well that this would raise controversy and the appearance of a conflict of interest.

So why doesn't he demand the same prudence in terms of good governance from the senior executives of Crown corporations?

That would have spared the president of Hydro-Québec, Sophie Brochu, whom he himself appointed to this prestigious position, to get his feet wet with L'effet A of the company Médias O'Dandy, where his spouse, John Gallagher, is the majority shareholder.< /p>

Master class from Brochu

Recall of facts. My colleague Francis Halin reported this week that the CEO of Hydro-Québec, Sophie Brochu, had volunteered, on behalf of her husband's private firm, a training course (master class) for businesswomen, which to the latter sales of nearly $50,000.

This is the training school L'Effet A, which belongs to Médias O'Dandy, whose majority shareholder is John Gallagher , Mrs. Brochu's spouse.

Title of the training: 30 days with Sophie Brochu. Price: $695.

“Designed to help women regain a sense of clarity about what drives them, the master class The A Effect 30 days with Sophie Brochu: refocusing to see far is an intensive training that allows them to project themselves into the rest of their career thanks to a solid knowledge of themselves.”

About this master class by Ms. Brochu, experts in ethics consulted by my colleague Halin are critical.

“If her spouse's firm was able to benefit directly or indirectly from this, it was Sophie Brochu's mistake,” says Robert Pouliot, teacher at ESG-UQAM.

And according to Ivan Tchotourian, law professor at Laval University and specialist in governance: “It might have taken an extra degree of caution.”

Never mind, Hydro-Québec affirms that their president and CEO has nothing to reproach herself for since the decisions concerning the “file” of L'Effet A training are taken by the president of the board of directors of L'Effet A. 'Hydro, Jacinthe Côté.

Fitzgibbon's lack of transparency

It's beyond me to see François Legault show such great tolerance in front of the lack of transparency from his minister with multiple ministerial tentacles, Pierre Fitzgibbon: Minister of Economy, Innovation and Energy, Minister responsible for Regional Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Metropolis and the Montreal region.< /p>

For a year that the case has been dragging on, how is it that Prime Minister Legault never forced his powerful minister Fitzgibbon to reveal the names of the 10 companies for which he intervened on their behalf when these companies did not respond to the eligibility criteria for loans granted by Investissement Québec under the Concerted Temporary Action Program for Businesses (PACTE)?

It was the Auditor General of Quebec, Guylaine Leclerc, who revealed this “secret” intervention by Minister Fitzgibbon within the framework of the PACTE. of Investissement Québec.

All these beautiful people are hiding behind the following excuse: Minister Fitzgibbon has done nothing wrong because, according to a clause in the PACTE's internal management guide, the Minister “may authorize assistance to businesses that do not meet all of the eligibility criteria” of this $2.5 billion program.

Oh yes! So why neither Minister Fitzgibbon, nor the members of his Ministry of Economy, Innovation and Energy, nor the management of Investissement Québec took the trouble to publicly communicate the existence of this ” clause of the internal guide” which gave companies the possibility of requesting the intervention of the Minister if they did not meet the eligibility criteria?

In addition, does François Legault find it normal that his powerful Minister Fitzgibbon and the leaders of his Ministry of the Economy and Investissement Québec do not issue any press release on the 50 million dollars of investments made in the company LMPG? (Lumenpulse), where one of the shareholders and current LMPG board member, Michel Ringuet, acted as an agent for Minister Fitzgibbon's blind trust?

As a lack of transparency, it's hard to beat, especially when you know that Fitzgibbon was himself an administrator of Lumenpulse from 2013 to 2017.

And in addition to this information, my colleague Sylvain Larocque revealed this week that Quebec has invested in 2020 and 2021 nearly $150 million in six companies co-owned by a firm of Michel Ringuet while the latter was an agent of the trust of the Minister of the Economy, Pierre Fitzgibbon.

In politics, the best way to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest is to focus on transparency.

With the opening of a 5th investigation by the Commissioner for ethics and professional conduct announced on Friday, this time affecting Pierre Fitzgibbon's links with the Lumenpulse company, François Legault will have no choice but to demand more transparency from his superminister.

Sophie Brochu and Pie Dr. Fitzgibbon: çenough is the “elastic” to the CAQ