The Canadian Press
Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon faces opposition pressure to resign from cabinet amid new allegations of parliamentary ethics violations linked to his involvement with White Star
First during an information session and then in the National Assembly during question period on Wednesday morning, the liberal opposition, Québec solidaire and the Parti Québécois joined forces to bombard the minister with questions
They also recalled that Prime Minister François Legault had undertaken to demonstrate “zero tolerance” for any form of conflict of interest within his team.
Minister Fitzgibbon, who is also the subject of a fourth investigation in two years by the ethics commissioner, responded on Wednesday saying he would not resign and believed he had nothing to be ashamed of.
He was reacting to a report in the Quebecor dailies recalling that Fitzgibbon, head of Investissement Québec, had invested in one of the White Star funds, and that this company was registered as a lobbyist in order to obtain financial assistance from Investissement Quebec
It was also reported that in January 2019, in Paris, Fitzgibbon introduced White Star founder Eric Martineau-Fortin to Premier Legault
It is not known if the Prime Minister was aware of Fitzgibbon’s ties to White Star when he met his president. The newspaper says the Prime Minister’s spokesperson said he was not aware of it
Fitzgibbon said Quebecor was “totally implacable” against him He argued that the White Star fund he invested in in 2014 was being liquidated At a press briefing, he declined to say how much stake he had in White Star
On several occasions, Ethics Commissioner Ariane Mignolet has asked Fitzgibbon to sell its stake in White Star Capital and the company Immervision, to comply with the code of ethics for parliamentarians and to avoid any conflict of interest or appearance of conflict of interest
Under the code of ethics, a member of the executive board cannot have an interest in a non-public company with links to the government
But according to Fitzgibbon, there are “no ethical issues” in the new allegations and “no conflict of interest” in his situation
“Get him out of his seat! It’s urgent,” said Manon Masse, parliamentary leader of the QS, during a press conference, addressing the Prime Minister
“He has to leave his post as minister Because now, how many red cards has he received? Another investigation is underway Obviously, he did not understand that he is on the other side, it is that is to say on the side of politics and that there are rules in politics ”, declared Vincent Marissal, deputy of QS
“Zero tolerance is zero, or is it not zero? So in Pierre Fitzgibbon’s situation, I think, obviously, he has reached the point of becoming a liability, and his position has always been very Claire When he is a liability for the Legault government, he will leave And he does not leave, ”commented Liberal MP Gaetan Barrette
Barrette denounced the fact that the Prime Minister, who is the “supreme authority” in matters of ethics, tolerates the fact that his minister “knowingly puts his personal interests before the interests of the institution”
Fitzgibbon reiterated on Wednesday that if he became a liability for the government, he would quit politics
Recently, the government entrusted the President of the Treasury Board Sonia LeBel with the exceptional task of handling possible requests from White Star, in order to avoid placing Fitzgibbon in a situation of conflict of interest.
Quebec, François Legault, Gaétan Barrette
Ebene News – CA – Quebec’s Minister of the Economy, Pierre Fitzgibbon, faces new pressures to resign