Pierre Fitzgibbon cleared by the Ethics Commissioner
Quebec Minister of Economy and Innovation, Pierre Fitzgibbon.
Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon, who had been the subject of an investigation by the Ethics Commissioner following the decision by Investissement Québec, in November 2021, to invest in a company under the Fonds pour la growth of Quebec enterprises (FCEQ), was cleared by the ethics and professional conduct commissioner on Thursday.
Recall that the company in question, LMPG, had as a director the agent , at the time, of the minister's blind mandate, and the latter had himself been a director from 2013 to 2017.
In the Ethics and Professional Conduct Commissioner's investigation report filed Thursday, the Commissioner concluded that “the Minister did not breach sections 15 and 16 of the Code of Ethics and ethics of the members of the National Assembly”.
“Indeed, the evidence gathered shows that the Minister had no personal interest in the situation in question. Consequently, he did not place himself in a situation where his interest could influence his independence of judgment in the exercise of his office”, can we read in the report.
The fact that Mr. Fitzgibbon had held the position of director of the company LMPG more than four years previously did not prove in itself to constitute a personal interest within the meaning of the Code of ethics and professional conduct of the members of the Assembly national.
In addition, the relationship between Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon and his agent at the time does not, according to the Commissioner, illustrate a strong attachment that could constitute a personal interest.
It specifies in this regard “that it is not required that the person mandated by an elected official be completely unknown or foreign to him. Indeed, the absence of personal and professional links between an elected official and his or her representative does not imply that there should be no link between them. It may be a person encountered during his career.”
The Commissioner concludes in her report that the Minister also did not act or exercise influence in such a way as to promote, in an abusive manner, the interests of the company receiving the investment or its agent at the time.
“The evidence shows in particular that all the parties followed a process of rigorous analysis based on well-defined criteria and that the Minister was not involved in the analysis of the file. In addition, it has been demonstrated that the investment project is in line with the objectives of the FCEQ and meets its essential criteria”, can we also read in the document.
Recall that this investigation had been opened at the request of the Member of Parliament for the Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Joël Arseneau.