PQ expels member for taking gifts from engineering firm in previous job

PQ expels member for taking gifts from engineering firm in previous job

QUEBEC — A member of the Opposition Parti Quebecois was ejected from caucus Tuesday after admitting being in a conflict of interest situation while he was in municipal politics.

Gaetan Lelievre, who represents the eastern Quebec riding of Gaspe, will sit in the legislature as an Independent.

He admitted to having received numerous gifts and perks from engineering firm Roche while serving as director general of the city of Gaspe between 2001 and 2010.

PQ Leader Jean-Francois Lisee was critical of Lelievre for failing to inform him about events reported in Quebecor newspapers on Tuesday. The media reports highlighted a number of compromising emails.

“We are extremely concerned about any information or action that may be perceived as unethical,” Lisee said as Lelievre stood next to him. “His decision not to make publicly available information harmful to him and to our political party must be punished.”

Lisee added the expulsion was for an indeterminate time, allowing for authorities to conduct any necessary investigations.

While stating that his conduct was not illegal, Lelievre apologized and said he should not have accepted the perks and should have disclosed the matter to the PQ.

“I have put myself in a situation that has the appearance of a conflict of interest, and that is why I want to apologize,” said Lelievre, who was first elected to the national assembly in 2012 and then re-elected in 2014.

Neither he nor Lisee took questions from reporters.

The allegations stem from 2008 and 2009 and had been reported during Quebec’s inquiry into corruption in the construction industry.

In his testimony before the Charbonneau Commission a few years ago, Lelievre denied receiving gifts in exchange for contracts doled out by the City of Gaspe.

Lelievre said Tuesday that commission investigators were aware of the details at the time and so too, in all likelihood, was Quebec’s anti-corruption unit.

“However, I realize today that, ideally, I should have informed the leader of the Parti Quebecois and my colleagues of those elements which, at the time … it did not seem appropriate to me to disclose,” he said.

The Canadian Press

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