January 13, 2017 2:48 pm
Updated: January 13, 2017 7:07 pm

PQ under fire for allegedly using public money to pay employee salaries

WATCH ABOVE: The CAQ and Québec Solidaire are demanding an immediate investigation into whether or not the Parti Québécois is using public money to pay party employee salaries. Global's Raquel Fletcher reports.

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The Parti Québécois (PQ) came under fire Friday morning for allegedly using public money to pay the salaries of party employees.

Now, the Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) and Québec Solidaire (QS) are demanding that the Speaker of the assembly call for an immediate investigation.

READ MORE: Courting the English vote: PQ, CAQ insist they’re the best choice in Quebec

The opposition parties claim the PQ is breaking the rules when it comes to who can be hired as National Assembly staff.

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They claim the PQ is dipping into its budget designated for the party whip’s support staff and using it instead to pay the salaries of party staffers who have never set foot in the National Assembly.

READ MORE: ‘In Quebec, we speak French,’ CAQ proposes mandatory language classes for immigrants

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“It’s clear for the Liberals, it’s clear for Québec Solidaire and it’s clear for us,” said Éric Caire, CAQ MNA.

“So, it’s just for the PQ that it seems not to be clear and that’s the reason why we asked the president to trigger an inquiry.”

READ MORE: PQ member Martine Ouellet considering run at Bloc Québécois leadership

Liberal whip Stéphane Billette weighed in, saying these employee’s hired in the whip, Carole Poirier’s office were hired to do partisan work for the party, rather than administrative work for her.

He argued that was unacceptable.

“One of the jobs of the whip of any party is to make sure the members of the parliament are following the rules,” he said.

“The people who need to be aware of this, to show the MNAs how to do it, they’re doing the opposite of the rules.”

The PQ insisted it followed the rules.

“You have political aids and liaison agents that do not work in the National Assembly. They have to work with the people,” said leader Jean-François Lisée.

The PQ said it hired five people to work as so-called “liaison agents” in the office of the party whip.

They used public money to pay their salaries, even though these employees never set foot in the National Assembly.

Lisée argued all the other parties are doing the same thing.

“I thought I was in Casablanca, you know when the guy says, ‘I’m shocked! I’m shocked to see there’s gambling in this house!’ when he is the gambler. This is how the National Assembly rules are set,” Lisée said.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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