Quebec's party financing laws aren't really respected: witness

Louis Marchand.
CEIC

Collusion was once again front and centre at the Charbonneau Commission's hearings on Monday

Luc Berthold, who had worked as former Liberal junior transport minister Julie Boulet's chief of staff was the first to take the stand Monday.

Berthold said those he saw giving money to the Liberal party expected something in return — though he didn't see evidence of anyone actually winning a contract based on their donation. Berthold says they would give money mainly to get noticed by the party and its officials.

Later on in the afternoon, Louis Marchand, the former boss of a paving company called Pavages Maskimo, testified that business owners who don't give to political parties don't stand much chance of being considered for government contracts.

Marchand had made donations to political parties in the past, but noted a change in how the transport ministry treated his company when he stopped writing the cheques in 2009.

He says he had been asked to take part in a $1000-a-plate fundraiser in Shawinigan by one of Boulet's aides. And not long after he refused, Boulet phoned him back personally to tell him the government didn't have any contracts to give out — and that she was disappointed to learn Marchand wouldn't show up to the fundraiser.

"René Levesque's famous party financing law is a myth!' he told the Commission, referring to the landmark law that bars corporate political donations — suggesting that all three major parties sitting in the National Assembly operate the same way.

Boulet remains an MNA, though she was notably omitted from the new Couillard cabinet.

She is expected to appear before the Commission — possibly as early as this week.

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