Quebec Premier François Legault said naming a new director of the province’s anti-corruption unit, UPAC, will mean the organization can “turn the page.”
UPAC has been embroiled in controversy with stories about media leaks, a toxic work environment and the high-profile arrest of sitting MNA Guy Ouellette in 2017.
On Oct. 1, 2018, the day of the provincial election, the head of UPAC, Robert Lafrenière, abruptly quit.
The Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) government has passed a law that requires all future directors to be nominated by two-thirds of the National Assembly. Legault cast doubt on Lafrenière, who was chosen by the previous Liberal government before the two-thirds law came into effect, suggesting he might not have been up to the task.
“I think it was a bad choice, because I can understand that some people think that, right now, maybe that’s why we don’t have any results,” Legault said, referring to the fact that many ongoing UPAC investigations have yet to be concluded.
When asked if he thought Lafrenière was a bad choice for director of UPAC, Legault replied “We don’t know.”
The CAQ government said it will put forward the name of a new chief in the coming weeks, at the latest by the end of October. If accepted by opposition parties, the new commissioner will serve a seven-year term.
Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault agreed with Legault that UPAC’s recent troubles can be sorted out by a strong new director.
“I think, yes, this will help the organization to have this new director, who will be there for seven years, who will be able to put out his own style of leadership,” she said.
“It is crucial to have an organization in Quebec that fights corruption and the mission of UPAC is really important.”
WATCH: (May 5, 2017) Is UPAC doing its job to uncover corruption in Quebec?