The Couillard government has rejected a report by a National Assembly ethics commissioner recommending to impose a financial penalty against former cabinet minister Pierre Paradis.
Quebec Liberal House Leader Jean-Marc Fournier said Wednesday the decision to reject the report and its recommendations came after consultations with an external legal counsel.
The office of Deblois lawyers claims it found several weaknesses in the report produced by ethics commissioner Ariane Mignolet.
“How, in all fairness and equity for Pierre Paradis, could the National Assembly accept this report in its entirety?” said the law firm in its own findings.
In a report tabled to the legislature last week, Mignolet accused the Brome-Missisquoi MNA of using public funds from the housing allowance allocated to MNAs to benefit his daughter.
She said Paradis did not cooperate with the investigation and recommended he be required to pay $24,500.
Paradis, who has been on sick leave for the last year and a half, had five days to defend himself before the National Assembly. So far, he has not done so.
In a statement, Paradis said he was willing to make public all the allowances he has received as an MNA since being elected in 1980.
He maintained he always conformed to the rules and collaborated with Mignolet in her investigation.
Quebec MNAs are expected to vote on the report Thursday. The Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) said it will vote in favour of the report and recommendations.
“So, they pick what they want coming from the ethics commissary? Why? To protect an old friend like Pierre Paradis?” said CAQ Leader François Legault.
— With files from Global’s Raquel Fletcher and the Canadian Press.
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