Sectoral financing and straw man schemes - Legal proceedings by the office of the Chief Electoral Officer involving three engineering consulting firms leads to 55 guilty pleas

December 2, 2014

Quebec City, December 2, 2014 – The Chief Electoral Officer of Québec, Lucie Fiset, wishes to notify the public that 4 offenders entered 55 guilty pleas as a result of violations of the Election Act and the Act respecting elections and referendums in municipalities (AERM) committed between 2009 and 2011. These individuals were connected with three engineering consulting firms, namely Roche ltée Groupe-Conseil, Groupe-conseil TDA Inc., and Dessau Inc. They were obliged to pay fines totaling $85,275. 

A former head of Roche ltée Groupe-conseil, André Côté, was served with and pleaded guilty to 34 statements of offence concerning contributions made by company employees other than out of their own property. In 23 cases, contributions were made to the Parti libéral du Québec and in one case to the Parti québécois, in violation of the provisions of the Election Act. There was a violation of the AERM in 10 of the cases. For example, contributions were made to independent candidates in the 2009 municipal general elections, i.e. Jean Tremblay in Saguenay (six contributions) and Luc Berthold in Thetford Mines (one contribution). Three other contributions were made to Quebec City’s Équipe Labeaume party. Mr. Côté paid a grand total of $42,675 in fines associated with statements of offence filed against him. As a result of his guilty pleas and pursuant to the provisions of the Election Act and the AERM, Mr. Côté cannot be granted any public contract in Québec for a three-year period.

In Baie-Comeau, in 2009, a former head of Groupe-conseil TDA Inc., Sylvain Brisson, helped company employees and an elector make five contributions totaling $6,000 to the Parti libéral du Québec and a contribution of $500 to the Parti Québécois other than out of their own property, thus participating in a straw man scheme in violation of the provisions of the Election Act. Also in 2009, the offender made two contributions totaling $2,000 to the Parti libéral du Québec other than out of his own property. On the municipal front, Mr. Brisson helped a company employee make a $500 contribution to the authorized independent candidate Michel St-Laurent other than out of his or her own property, in the context of the municipal general elections of November2009 in violation of the provisions of the AERM. He also contributed $500 to the authorized independent candidate Christine Brisson and to the authorized independent candidate Luc Imbeault other than out of his own property, in the context of the municipal general elections of November of that same year. In July 2014, Mr. Brisson entered guilty pleas on the charges brought against him and paid a grand total of $15,500 in fines.

Also in Baie-Comeau, in 2009, 2010 and 2011, a former head of Groupe-conseil TDA, Jean-Claude Tremblay, made six contributions to the Parti libéral du Québec other than out of his own property, thus participating in a straw-man scheme. In July 2014, Mr. Tremblay entered guilty pleas on the charges brought against him and paid fines totaling $12,000. Furthermore, given that the violation committed in October 2011 constituted a corrupt electoral practice, Mr. Tremblay forfeited his voting rights for a five-year period. Moreover, in October 2009, Mr. Tremblay helped an employee make a contribution of $2,600 to the Parti libéral du Québec other than out of his or her own property. In July 2014, he entered a guilty plea to the charge brought against him and paid a fine of $3,100. Lastly, in October 2011, Mr. Tremblay falsely stated that his contribution of $150 made to the Parti libéral du Québec had not been and would not be reimbursed in any way. In July 2014, the offender entered a guilty plea on the charge brought against him and paid a fine of $5,000. This violation constituted a corrupt electoral practice.

 As a result of certain of these guilty pleas and pursuant to the provisions of the Election Act and the AERM, Sylvain Brisson and Jean-Claude Tremblay cannot be granted any public contract in Québec for a three-year period. 

Lastly, in January 2010 in Montréal, a former head of Dessau Inc., Jean Plessis-Bélair, helped two of his firm’s employees make contributions of $3,000 to the Parti libéral du Québec other than out of their own property, in violation of the provisions of the Election Act. On November 10, 2014, the offender entered guilty pleas on the charges brought against him and paid a grand total of $7,000 in fines.

 

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Categories : Provincial, Municipal, Infractions of the ARERM, Infractions of the Electoral Act, DGE