Former Deputy Premier of Quebec, Nathalie Normandeau, and the former Liberal minister Marc-Yvan Côté will have to answer charges of corruption, fraud on the government and breach of trust.
The two former politicians were among those who were arrested early Thursday morning as part of a broad crackdown conducted by officers of the Unité permanente anticorruption (UPAC).
They “are allegedly involved in criminal schemes linking both fraudulent activities of political funding and undue obtaining government grants or government contracts,” said at a press conference the Commissioner of UPAC, Robert Lafrenière.
“It is unfair and inequitable use of public contracts as political tools and it is also unacceptable to use the power of his influence to favor elections. So is the citizens’ trust in their leaders and institutions, “he chained.
Others arrested Thursday are former chief of staff of Nathalie Normandeau, Bruno Lortie, the former vice president of Roche, France Michaud, former president and CEO of Roche, Mario Martel, the former mayor of Gaspé, François Roussy, and former political attaché in Charlevoix county office of former Prime Minister Pauline Marois, Ernest Murray.
They were taken for questioning in positions located in the Quebec City, Montreal and Charlevoix.
Their arrest is the outcome of two long criminal investigation, Yoke and Ivy, and it relates to actions that were laid between 2000 and 2012, said the inspector André Boulanger, Head of the Investigations Directorate on Corruption of the UPAC .
In June 2014, Nathalie Normandeau had appeared before the Commission on the Awarding and Management of Public Contracts in the Construction Industry chaired by Justice France Charbonneau.
The former minister had then blamed for the contentious issues raised before the commission on engineering firms and its former director of cabinet.
“If that was done, everything was done without the knowledge of the department and the minister that I was,” she had assured, vowing have always put a wall between her and those who came to the activities of funding to try to get information from his department.
“And believe me, I was not naive enough to believe that some people who were there did not think, perhaps, get some things in return for their involvement in the Liberal Party of Quebec. But these people are wrong, because there never was a kickback, “she had pleaded.
After leaving politics, Ms. Normandeau had won a contract to host the FM93 station in Quebec City. She was suspended without pay in the wake of Thursday’s events.
His picture and his name was removed from the website of the radio station, and the name of the show she co-hosts with Éric Duhaime has been changed – “Normandeau-Duhaime” has become “Duhaime” on the website.
On the side of Quebec, where it is budget day, Prime Minister Philippe Couillard said the arrest of leading members of the Quebec Liberal Party and former Deputy Prime Minister had nothing to do with the situation current.
He acknowledged the impact of the arrest of Mrs. Normandeau, but has limited its reaction to that required by his duties.
“It is certain that we see the personal aspect but given my role and my duties, my remark must be limited to salute the independence of the process, also the quality of the actions of these organizations there and wish that justice be made with all the principles that it has in our society, “he said scrum.
For his part, former Prime Minister Jean Charest, who is currently abroad, will only “no comment,” said one of his colleagues at the law firm McCarthy Tétrault, Gregory Larroque.
The political career of Mrs. Normandeau began in 1995 when she was elected for mayor of the municipality of Maria in the Gaspé. She was elected MP of the Quebec Liberal Party in Bonaventure in 1998 and was reelected in 2003, 2007 and 2008.
During her career, she was Minister of Municipal Affairs, Minister of Natural Resources and Minister responsible for Canadian Intergovernmental Affairs.