A top Liberal cabinet minister is holding onto his position, despite allegations he is the subject of a criminal investigation.
The story overshadowed the first day back in session for the National Assembly.
“I hope people will change the perception they have developed yesterday,” said Liberal house leader Jean-Marc Fournier.
Fournier said he hopes recent allegations have not tarnished his political reputation.
On Monday, media reports named him and former minister Raymond Bachand as the two Liberal MNAs suspected of fraud and links to the Mafia. Police opened an investigation in April when the president of the Montreal Police Brotherhood made the allegations on live radio.
On Tuesday, the premier confirmed Fournier has full security clearance from the Sûreté du Québec. The provincial police are still investigating, but the premier said he has no doubt about his minister’s innocence.
“Nothing is out there that should cast a shadow on his ability to be a member of the National Assembly and also of cabinet,” Premier Philippe Couillard said.
The Liberal caucus showed no signs of tension about keeping Fournier in their ranks.
Fournier said the negative headlines have affected him emotionally — to the point he’s still not sure if he’ll run for another term, but until the election in 2018, he said he’s going to try to turn the page.
“My job as house leader is to focus on the work of the government and not on me.”
However, the official opposition says allegations like these cast a shadow over the current government.
“About Jean-Marc Fournier and others, I’m looking forward to the end of the Liberal regime so we can start fresh,” said PQ Leader Jean-François Lisée.
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