Minister of Municipal Affairs Accused of Interfering in City Affairs
PQ MNA Pascal Berube has accused Minister of Municipal Affairs Andrée Laforest of interfering in the affairs of the City of Saguenay. Berube said that Laforest commissioned an architectural firm to draw up plans to transform the Georges-Vezina arena into a sports complex with a swimming pool, and then passed the $20,000 bill to the city.
“The municipality is very uncomfortable with a choice imposed on it, not by just anyone, but by their MNA who is also minister of municipal affairs,” Berube said on Thursday.
Laforest has denied any wrongdoing, saying that she simply asked the architectural firm to provide the city with some options for the arena. She said that she did not force the city to choose any particular option.
The Ethics Commissioner is currently investigating the matter.
“The minister is designing the project in a way; she’s calling on an architectural firm without the knowledge of the municipality of Saguenay, and that’s no small feat (…) I’ve never seen anything like it,” he insisted.
“The least we can do in light of this information is check the practices, and I think the Commissioner is fully empowered to look into this,” added the MNA for Matane-Matapedia.
In a telephone interview with The Canadian Press, Laforest denied acting alone.
“I did my job as MNA for Chicoutimi, bringing citizens together, bringing organizations together who asked me to work on a common project, the Centre Georges-Vézina,” she said in her defence.
“I’ve always been very transparent. It was done with my mayor, together, and then I listened to my constituents, so there you have it, I did my job as an MNA,” she added.