Sophie Brochu and Pierre Fitzgibbon: Sufficient “elastic” ethics on the CAQ

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

The answer to this highly hypothetical question: absolutely not! The head of the CAQ government is well aware that this would cause controversy and the appearance of a conflict of interest.

So why doesn’t he demand the same caution from the executives of crown corporations when it comes to good governance?

This would save Hydro-Québec president Sophie Brocha, whom he himself appointed to this prestigious position, from getting his feet wet in Médias O’Dandy’s L’effet A, where her husband John Gallagher is. majority shareholder.

Master class brochure

Let’s recall the facts. My colleague Francis Halin reported this week that the CEO of Hydro-Québec, Sophie Brochu, volunteered to offer a master class for businesswomen on behalf of her husband’s private company, which generated nearly $50,000 in revenue.

This is the L’Effet A training school, which belongs to Médias O’Dandy, whose majority shareholder is John Gallagher, the wife of Mr.me Leaflet.

Name of the course: 30 days with Sophie Brochu. Price: $695.

“L’Effect A, designed to help women regain a sense of clarity about what drives them 30 days with Sophie Brochu: refocus to see far is intensive training that allows them to project themselves into the rest of their careers with a solid knowledge of themselves.

About this master class Mme Bro, the ethics experts consulted by my colleague Halin are critical.

“If her husband’s company could benefit directly or indirectly, it was Sophie Brochu’s fault,” says Robert Pouliot, a teacher at ESG-UQAM.

And according to Ivan Tchotourian, a law professor at Laval University and a specialist in public affairs: “It might require extra caution.”

Never mind, Hydro-Québec claims that their President and CEO is not to blame because decisions regarding the L’Effet A training “set” are made by L’Effet A. ‘Hydro’s President of the Board, Jacinthe Side.

Fitzgibbon’s lack of transparency

It is beyond me to see how François Legault shows so much tolerance in the face of the lack of transparency of his minister with many ministerial tentacles, Pierre Fitzgibbon: Minister of the Economy, Innovation and Energy, Minister responsible for Regional Economic Development and Minister responsible for Metropolis and the Montreal Region.

How is it possible that Premier Legault, a year into the case, never forced his powerful Minister Fitzgibbon to reveal the names of the 10 companies he intervened on behalf of when those companies failed to meet the eligibility criteria for loans provided by Investissement Québec under the agreed Temporary Action Program for Enterprises (PACTE)?

It was Quebec Auditor General Guylaine Leclerc who exposed this “undercover” intervention by Minister Fitzgibbon under PACTE.

Motus and closed mouths between the bonzes of the Ministry of Economy and Investments Québec.

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

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

Furthermore, does François Legault find it normal that his powerful Minister Fitzgibbon and the leaders of his Ministry of Economy and Investment Québec did not issue any press release on the $50 million investment made in LMPG? (Lumenpulse) where one of the shareholders and current LMPG board member Michel Ringuet acted as a blind trust agent for Minister Fitzgibbon?

The lack of transparency is hard to overcome, especially when you consider that Fitzgibbon was a Lumenpulse administrator himself from 2013 to 2017.

And in addition to this information, my colleague Sylvain Larocque revealed this week that Quebec invested almost $150 million in 2020 and 2021 in six companies co-owned by Michel Ringuet, while it was an agent of the ministerial trust for the economy, Pierre Fitzgibbon.

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

With opening 5E The Ethics and Professional Conduct Commissioner’s investigation announced on Friday, this time into Pierre Fitzgibbon’s ties to Lumenpulse, will leave François Legault with no choice but to demand more transparency from his super minister.

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