Photo: Jacques Nadeau Le Devoir
Pierre Karl Péladeau, then a candidate for the leadership of the Parti québécois in January 2015
Pierre Karl Péladeau is not the end of his sentences, and his fight to preserve the public contracts Quebecor is far from won, consider two lawyers consulted by The Duty.
“I don’t know his cards, but already, with the few facts that we know, we can say that this will not be easy,” sums up the lawyer Jean-Claude Hébert.
In a first step, the business man, who is appealing his response to an allegation of a violation of the election Law, will succeed to convince a judge to return to the box departure. It is already a challenge in and of itself, explain to Me Hebert.
“There are provisions that allow you to refer back to, but obviously, it takes a lot of the supporting reasons to be very serious, otherwise it would be too easy. This would be like giving a second chance at bat. Everyone would do that when they find that the penalty is too heavy. “
The business man will not be able to simply say that he was badly advised, considers Me Hebert. “It has already been tried and it has not passed the eyes of the judge. “
The real problem, writes the lawyer, is that Pierre Karl Péladeau is ” taken with the public statements that he has made “.
“Assuming that it will be able to convince a judge that he pleaded guilty too quickly and that he was not well measured case, the first obstacle, and that the Director-general of elections will make is that he is going to plead ignorance of the law
“Now, everyone is supposed to know the law — especially him, who has participated in the writing of laws in the Parliament, it is a well-known principle. This is not won in advance. And so, even if his advocacy is cancelled, one may ask : it saves time, but it all leads to where ? “
Recall that, following his withdrawal from political life, the former leader of the Parti québécois has claimed to have repaid a personal debt of his leadership campaign, which amounted to 137 000 $. However, this is contrary to the electoral Law, which provides for a maximum contribution of $500.
Last July, Mr. Péladeau has pleaded guilty to this offence — he contested, however, the amount of the penalty, but announced Monday evening that he was calling this recognition of guilt, realizing the possible impact on his company Quebecor.
In effect, the Act respecting contracting by public bodies (LCOP) provides that a company whose principal shareholder is convicted of such an offence may not obtain public contracts for a period of five years.
“The possible consequences arising from my advocacy of original have been scanned and their magnitude understood so that it appears that the purpose of the LCOP is entertained,” he wrote on his page Facebook on Monday night.
He says that the Law was designed to combat collusion and corruption, which is not the case. “I’ve never conducted manoeuvres election fraudulent, maneuvers for which these laws were put in place. It is just the opposite. I was transparent and I paid my debts. “
UPAC, which must deliver a notice to the autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), confirms having received the record of the Director-general of elections, but explained that the processing of the file is suspended, because Mr. Péladeau has appealed his answer to the charge. For its part, the AMF reserves its comments in anticipation of this notice. Quebecor has also declined the interview request of the Duty.
In his message on Monday, Pierre Karl Péladeau was asked the assistance of the treasury Board and the prime minister so that he decree ” an exception to the application automatically and without nuance of the Law “, and this, in a perspective of ” justice for Quebecor and its thousands of employees for its clients and its partners “.
Questioned to this effect, the president of the treasury Board, Pierre Arcand, believes that it is too early. “It is before the courts. […] We will wait [their] decision. We will look later what happens at the level of the law, ” he simply said.
The lawyer and professor in public law at the ENAP Nicholas Jobidon provides, in part, due to the ex-head of the parti québecois, stating that ” the Law has not been implemented with this kind of case in mind.” But he expresses a caution, recalling that “there is no valve directly in the Law” for a company that wants to circumvent the Law, it is to avoid that a possible corrupt government can continue to give contracts to a “business friend” to be fraudulent.
“The national Assembly may adopt an amendment of an emergency, but if we change the Law without thinking, we risk creating a significant breach which could create larger problems in the long term that the problems it solves in the short term. “