Quebec’s ethics commissioner of the National Assembly is recommending Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon be reprimanded.
In her report tabled Tuesday, Ariane Mignolet noted shortcomings in the declaration of the minister’s interests in certain companies that deal with the government.
Mignolet also took issue with the minister’s lack of co-operation in her investigation.
Fitzgibbon is asked to fix the situation to be in compliance with the code of ethics.
During a late afternoon press conference Tuesday, Fitzgibbon, accompanied by Premier François Legault said the code of ethics is outdated. He said when he got into politics he sold 11 of 13 private companies in which he was an investor. However, he says there was no market to sell the last two.
“Even if Mr. Fitzgibbon wanted to sell those companies, he didn’t find any buyers,” Legault explained.
The premier said this type of exceptional situation should not be an obstacle for qualified people with business experience making the leap into politics.
“I think that we can manage to have ministers’ holding very small amounts in two small companies being able to manage the rest of the Quebec economy,” he said.
He added, “I think it’s about time we change the code – with the opposition parties. Of course, we have to do that together.”
Minister Fitzgibbon wouldn’t reveal the names of the two companies in question, but said one of them was a technology company that made about $10 million in revenue annually.
“I think the issue of size is perhaps irrelevant,” he said. “I think it’s what kind of measures do you put so there’s no conflict of interest?”