The day after his appointment to the Charbonneau Commission, Renaud Lachance has participated in a cocktail marking the retirement of the big boss of the Ministry of Transport, whose internal problems had contributed to the establishment of the Commission, which was to Besides scrutinizing in the following months.
On 9 November 2011, Mr. Lachance became commissioner alongside Roderick Macdonald and France Charbonneau, who will chair the Commission of Inquiry on the Awarding and Management of Public Contracts in the construction industry. His appointment by the government followed a recommendation of Ms. Charbonneau.
The next day, November 10, Mr. Lachance visited the Chateau Laurier in Quebec City, where they attended a 5 à 7 in a large room on the ground floor of the hotel. The event marked the retirement of Deputy Minister as the Department of Transport (MTQ), Michel Boivin.
One of the people who participated in the event and who requested anonymity remembers the presence of Mr. Lachance. “I greeted him, but I was very surprised by his presence at the party. I said, “I think it fails in its duty of reserve”, “source told this.
The ethicist André Lacroix, professor at the University of Sherbrooke, sees a misstep in the decision of Mr. Lachance to get to this cocktail, especially as two years earlier, in November 2009, Mr. Lachance, then Auditor General of Quebec, had published a devastating report on the MTQ; Mr. Boivin was then based.
“It lacked a bit of judgment. From the moment you appointed a commission of inquiry, we must mark up your conflicts of interest, “said Lacroix.
“Apparently, there is a problem, especially when you sign a resounding dissent in a report. […] It seems to me that one can question the person’s judgment, “says ethics professor.
His colleague from the National School of Public Administration (ENAP), the professor of ethics Yves Boisvert, feels the same way. “Mr. Lachance can not say he does not know at that time that the MTQ will be scrutinized by the Charbonneau commission. If you have officially passed the collimator a ministry, as Auditor General, do not you arranges to attend and celebrate the departure of the head of the organization that you are supposed to have passed the collimator. Or it shows that you have not gone as far as you could go, “he says.
Seal Friday Renaud Lachance defended himself for being placed in a position of apparent conflict of interest. He said the invitation was not from the MTQ – in this case, he refused outright, he said – but colleagues of Mr. Boivin.
“I was there half an hour to tell him, somewhat jokingly, that I was glad he left the public service. I wanted to make sure it was true. “Said Renaud Lachance.
Then he said that Michel Boivin “was an official with whom he was very difficult to resolve issues.” “He was a perfectionist, a man of immense detail, an intellectual. In the case of the island Voyageur [Mr. Boivin was Deputy Minister for Education when the scandal broke] for Transport and after he has exhausted my teams. I had to take over and spend weekends arguing about commas, “said Mr. Lachance.
These explanations do not convince Professor Boisvert. “Come on then! It is in the process of telling stories “, was he exclaimed. “In any professional environment, people who go to a cocktail party, it is to emphasize the magnitude of the contribution of the person by friendship or respect,” he says.
Mr. Lachance said they had no friendship with Michel Boivin.
Following the publication of the report of the Charbonneau Commission on 24 November report in which Mr. Lachance has registered his dissent regarding the link between the financing of political parties by businesses and obtaining contracts or grants, the former Commissioner participated in a public event. Mr. Lachance was the guest of honor of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), the world organization of anti-fraud training which opened a Montreal section.
Tensions between Commissioners
For ethicists Andre Lacroix and Yves Boisvert, the participation of Mr. Lachance to a cocktail can not be analyzed without taking into account the CBC’s revelations to him. The Survey show unveiled Thursday on tensions between France Charbonneau and Mr. Lachance in the months preceding the filing of the report.
E-mails and handwritten notes on a draft Commission report obtained by survey tend to show that Dr. Lachance might have wanted to alleviate the criticism of political parties, particularly the Liberal Party of Quebec.
The passage about the businessman Marc Bibeau, Mr. Lachance refused to designate as responsible for funding the PLQ because it does not appear in the organization chart, while at least six witnesses do, did Professor Boisvert jump. “If Mr. Bibeau has no official status and that everyone at the party recognizes that it is he, the head of finance, it is even more worrying. We are in a hidden system of financing. I can not understand Mr. Lachance dare write that Ms. Charbonneau, “he says.
Press invited Mr. Lachance to explain the reasons for his dissent and comment on the report of the CBC. “I will answer later. I’m thinking about it. I do not like being in the public square, but I am confused even me, “he simply said.
On Friday, the future Quebec Coalition proposed to invite Lachance and Charbonneau commissioners to explain to the National Assembly. The day before, the Québec and Québec solidaire party wanted to force them.
The Prime Minister Philippe Couillard said he did not intend to intervene in disagreements behind the scenes of the Charbonneau commission.