April 22, 2014 11:03 am

Ex-Quebec deputy premier denies helping engineering firm

Quebec Deputy premier Nathalie Normandeau resigns as Quebec Premier Jean Charest looks on, on September 6, 2011 in Quebec City.

Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press

MONTREAL – Former Liberal deputy premier Nathalie Normandeau is rejecting allegations she helped an engineering firm obtain a lucrative contract to build a water treatment plant in exchange for fundraising donations.

Normandeau, who served in the post under Jean Charest, says she is willing to meet with investigators from the Charbonneau Commission corruption inquiry and Quebec’s anti-corruption police squad.

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Court documents released Wednesday say police searched the provincial Liberals’ headquarters in Montreal last summer as part of an investigation into the awarding of an $11-million Municipal Affairs Department contract for a water treatment plant in Boisbriand, Que.

Anti-corruption officials allege in the documents that Normandeau intervened in favour of the Roche engineering firm against the advice of civil servants.

The documents also contain allegations that Roche helped to raise funds for Normandeau and the Liberals.

No charges have been laid so far as a result of the allegations.

Normandeau said in a statement Wednesday that the 2007 contract was the subject of intensive discussions among bureaucrats in the Municipal Affairs Department at the time.

She said she made a decision on the contract after hearing all points of view and taking into account the best interests of Boisbriand.

“During my career, I have never been manipulated by anyone, no matter what position I held,” she said in the statement.

“I would never have accepted such a situation. I have always carried out my duties with integrity, rigour and honesty.”

She also pointed out she had nothing to do with party fundraising.

The bombshell hit as Liberal premier-designate Philippe Couillard met with outgoing premier Pauline Marois for the first time since the April 7 election.

The Liberals regained power last week with a majority government after being thrown out in September 2012 in large part because of voter anger over ethical issues.

Normandeau did not run in the April 7 election.

© The Canadian Press, 2014

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