Opposition highlights confusion around Fitzgibbon

An intervention by the President of the Treasury Board Sonia LeBel in a business assistance program contributes to the appearances of confusion which have earned criticism from the Minister of the Economy Pierre Fitzgibbon for his management of the file, the parties said on Wednesday. ‘opposition.

Liberal MP Monsef Derraji said the government needs to make it clear why Ms LeBel stepped in for Mr Fitzgibbon in order to clear $ 7 million in funding to a company he had financial ties with before launching into political, in 2018.

“If they pushed Sonia LeBel to act, it’s because there is something,” he said in an interview. What is this thing. Why did the government order Ms. LeBel to act and not him? “

According to the Liberal MP, these questions are added to the criticisms already formulated by Auditor General Guylaine Leclerc against the management of the Temporary Concerted Action Program for Enterprises (PACTE) by Mr. Fitzgibbon.

“It increases the confusion in the management of the PACTE, it shows the government’s lack of transparency and it further demonstrates the cowboy attitude at the level of the Ministry of the Economy,” said Mr. Derraji.

The duty revealed Wednesday that Ms. LeBel authorized in December 2020 the funding requested by the company Mayrand / Alimplus to the PACTE, set up during the pandemic. The program provided that all loans or loan guarantees over five million had to be authorized by the minister.

A spokesperson for Mr. Fitzgibbon said the substitution was made at the request of the Prime Minister’s office, without further details.

The member for Quebec solidaire Vincent Marissal also noted that Ms. LeBel’s intervention “adds a permanent layer of suspicion towards Mr. Fitzgibbon”, who has been repeatedly blamed for breaches of the code of ethics of the ‘National Assembly.

“It seems he’s got his house in order, why does he still need a chaperone?” “Asked Mr. Marissal.

Mr. Fitzgibbon liquidated in 2019 a financial interest he had in the Walter Capital investment firm, a holding company of which he was a managing partner. Walter has held stakes in Mayrand / Alimplus since 2017.


The Auditor General, Guylaine Leclerc, tabled a report three weeks ago on the PACTE questioning Mr. Fitzgibbon’s discretionary power in the problematic allocation of loans or loan guarantees to ten companies, whose names have remained so far confidential.

Ms. Leclerc noted elements that did not comply with the PACTE criteria in these ten files authorized by Mr. Fitzgibbon, who relied on an internal management guide that did not include any criteria.

According to Mr. Derraji, this new episode involving Ms. LeBel is proof that the government should reveal the names of the ten companies, which it has refused for weeks despite demands from the opposition.

“As long as I haven’t seen the list of ten loans, I can’t say that the company has met the criteria,” he said, speaking of the financing to Mayrand / Alimplus.

PQ MP Martin Ouellet, for his part, expressed his concern at how the government proceeded by implicating Ms. LeBel in a file, presumably to avoid an appearance of conflict of interest, without clear guidelines.

“Looks like we’re doing it piecemeal,” he said in an interview. Like somebody turn on the lights and say, oops, maybe there is an issue there so let’s do that for that one. “

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