Couillard aims to clarify circumstances surrounding Paradis expulsion

Couillard aims to clarify circumstances surrounding Paradis expulsion

Quebec Agriculture Minister Pierre Paradis responds to the Opposition, during question period Wednesday, December 2, 2015 at the legislature in Quebec City. The Quebec premier’s office is confirming that a longtime cabinet minister is under police investigation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot.

MONTREAL — Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard says he acted diligently this week in dealing with a former cabinet minister now facing a police investigation.

Couillard is seeking to set the record straight on the circumstances surrounding the departure of Pierre Paradis as opposition parties raise questions about the premier’s transparency on the matter.

Late Thursday, Couillard’s office said Paradis had been replaced as agriculture minister by Laurent Lessard and kicked out of caucus.

Couillard told reporters today he was first informed of a complaint against Paradis last Friday while attending the Davos economic summit, but the accusations weren’t validated at the time.

On Tuesday, his office received a letter from the complainant and Paradis was first removed from cabinet temporarily on Wednesday without any reason given.

Couillard said he acted as soon as a police investigation was confirmed.

Paradis has not been charged with any crime.

The premier also confirmed that Paradis recently suffered a concussion and is currently receiving medical treatment, but he said that had nothing to do with his departure.

The Canadian Press

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