Deal or no deal? In Switzerland, Marois says no deal with FTQ

Premier Pauline Marois was adamant Wednesday that her husband never struck a deal with Quebec's largest labour federation to protect that union's interests and thwart a potential corruption inquiry.

Evidence at the Charbonneau Commission, which is looking into the construction industry, suggested the Quebec Federation of Labour (FTQ) was ready to lobby Marois and the Parti Quebecois in 2009 to put a stop to any future corruption probe.

Speaking in Davos, Switzerland, where she's attending the World Economic Summit, Marois said Wednesday that no such intervention took place and that she was never pressured by the federation's directors.

"There was no agreement reached, there was no deal, as they say,'' Marois said with a laugh during a press briefing.

In a wiretap played Tuesday at the Charbonneau Commission in Montreal, two union executives were overheard talking in 2009 about applying pressure to the PQ to make sure no such inquiry took place.

Then-union president Michel Arsenault reassures Jean Lavallee that they have a deal with "Blanchet,'' a reference to Marois' husband, Claude Blanchet, a former director at the labour federation's Solidarity Fund from 1983 to 1997.

"The PQ won't touch this,'' Arsenault tells Lavallee, ex-president of the labour federation's construction wing. "I'll talk to Pauline."

Marois was leader of the Opposition in 2009.

The first-name reference prompted the Opposition Liberals and the CAQ to express concerns about the type of influence the union may have had on Marois.

But the PQ leader downplayed the pull the union has with the party.

"You might have noticed that while the FTQ had usually supported the Parti Quebecois, that wasn't the case in the last two elections,'' Marois said.

Marois said the union brass were informed quickly that her party intended to push for a public inquiry and added the relationship her husband had with the union was strictly business.

"There wasn't any deal and there is no deal,'' she said. "I decided that we would ask for a commission of inquiry regardless of what any group thought, be it the FTQ or anyone else.

"If they spoke to us, and they speak to us regularly, it didn't yield the desired results.''

The premier said she told Arsenault the PQ would push for an inquiry. They didn't agree on the necessity of one, but Marois insisted Arsenault did not pressure her.

The Liberals, in power at the time, finally agreed to call an inquiry in November 2011.

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  1. Paul posted on 01/22/2014 12:56 PM
    Last year she tells us that she does not involve herself in her husband's affairs. He can take care of himself.
    Now she claims to know everything about her husbands affairs.

    Message to journalists: please keep digging deeper in this story as she is not making any sense. Wiretaps don't lie.
  2. Really posted on 01/22/2014 01:02 PM
    "If they spoke to us, and they speak to us regularly, it didn't yield the desired results.''

    If t hat is so why in May 2013 did she raise eyebrows after she warned the Charbonneau inquiry to exercise "caution" in it's deliberations.
    I remember thinking why was she not arrested or reprimanded, at the least, for influencing or abuse of powers.
  3. more BS posted on 01/22/2014 01:18 PM
    And she knows that there is no shortage of idiots that will believe her crap.
  4. anneM posted on 01/22/2014 02:11 PM
    As she stated before, "don't worry" !
  5. ric posted on 01/22/2014 02:40 PM
    Come on. marois and her husband are the 2 most honest separatists in the world. The wire tap must have been some ENGLISH trick orchestrated by someone wearing a kippah or a hijab. We all know that the pq would never stoop to anything illegal.
  6. Sic posted on 01/22/2014 05:35 PM
    Is it a coincidence that she has a condo in the same building in Mexico as one of the biggest names named in the Charbonneau commission?is it a coincidence that for six months she was quiet about forcing an inquiry? Is it a coincidence her husband is named on the wire tap? Is it a coincidence she warned Madame Charbonneau to be careful about who and or what she asked in the inquiry? Are the people of this province that dimwitted to not see her for what she is ?
  7. more BS posted on 01/23/2014 07:43 AM
    It is up to the English media and the 2 opposition parties to push this issue to no end.
    The French racist papers have tiny articles on the front page and smaller articles on the back pages. DO NOT let this drop! Pauline and her ilk on the defensive. The commission sweeps with a wide broom and it picks up all kinds of dirt. Lets sit back and watch the dust bunnies squirm.
  8. clint posted on 01/23/2014 09:05 AM
    Pauline is using the "Rob Ford" defense.
  9. Joe posted on 01/23/2014 09:40 AM
    Wonder how she will tell the commission to back off this time, like she did with the Guy Chevrette affair, notice how that has disappeared from the commission's agenda and Chevrette's name has ceased to pop up......Hmmmm, I smell a behind the scene discussion in that case, maybe time for the same discussion.
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