Transportation Minister Jacques Daoust says there needs to be a change of culture in the ministry under his watch. He made the statement the day after two analysts hired to investigate the Ministry of Transportation told a parliamentary committee the reports they prepared had been altered.
Annie Trudel testified that during her 18 months of auditing the Ministry and how it awarded contracts, she was subject to repeated instances of harassment and sabotage.
She told the committee that her final report was altered between when she gave it to officials in the Ministry of Transportation and when it was given to the MNAs on the committee.
A copy of her final report is in the hands of UPAC, the province’s permanent anti-corruption investigation unit.
Meanwhile the MNAs on the committee are angry about being given altered documents.
Upon learning the documents given to him were not the originals, Quebec Solidaire’s Amir Khadir said he was “not respected in my function.”
He said the scandal that has erupted in the Ministry is proof the Liberal government is not interested in eliminating corruption.
“Nothing we have seen in the past ten days is any indication that those in charge are willing to be transparent,” said Khadir.
CAQ MNA Eric Caire said he was “clearly disappointed” at the documents being altered.
The scandal has been brewing since mid-May, when Transportation Minister Jacques Daoust pushed out his deputy minister Dominque Savoie and his chief of staff.
The move came when former Transportation Minister Robert Poeti revealed he had written to Daoust to know the status of investigations into the Ministry he used to lead — and Trudel’s resignation came to public attention.
“Mrs. Savoie probably lied to the commission, and she refused to cooperate with her minister, so I don’t see how the premier could accept to hire this person as her own [deputy] minister,” said Caire. During her testimony Wednesday Trudel did not say that Savoie had altered the documents she submitted.
Instead Trudel testified that “multiple people wanted me to quit.”
Trudel resigned in April and gave her documents to UPAC — where she had worked as an investigator before auditing the Ministry of Transportation.
The committee also heard from another former investigator, Louise Boily, who said multiple documents she examined were full of “irregularities.”
“I think they are very strict at controlling information in the Ministry of Transportation,” said Boily, who said she believed that a ministerial document explaining the discrepancies was “fake.”
Boily said she had specifically informed Savoie of problems in awarding contracts, even though Savoie told the committee otherwise.
She said that she, too, had been bullied during her time investigating the agency.
“I was the object of intimidation,” said Boily.
On Thursday morning CAQ leader Francois Legault said the scandal had reaching a tipping point.
“It’s enough,” said Legault, adding it was time for Transportation Minister Jacques Daoust to resign.
The CAQ is also calling for an emergency debate before the parliamentary session ends on Friday June 10.
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