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Quebec’s ethics commissioner recommends reprimanding economy minister

Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon has been cited once again by the province's ethics commissioner. Quebec National Assembly

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.

Read more: Quebec’s economy minister violated code of ethics and should be reprimanded, commissioner says

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.

Click to play video: 'Quebec’s economy minister under ethics investigation' Quebec’s economy minister under ethics investigation
Quebec’s economy minister under ethics investigation – Apr 24, 2019

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late afternoon press conference Tuesday, Fitzgibbon, accompanied by Premier François Legault said the code of ethics is outdated.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.

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“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.

READ MORE: Critics say Quebec not investing enough in health and economic recovery plans

“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?”

 

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