Sectoral political financing and straw man schemes - The Chief Electoral Officer of Québec prosecutes a former executive of an engineering consulting firm for inciting employees to participate in a straw man scheme and is seeking fines totaling $245,000

February 17, 2015

Quebec City, February 13, 2015 – After an investigation into a corporate political financing scheme in place within the engineering consulting firm SNC-Lavalin, the Chief Electoral Officer of Québec recently filed statements of offence against a former executive of the firm, Yves Cadotte. In so doing, the Chief Electoral Officer of Québec is seeking fines totaling $245,000.

In the first statement of offence, Mr. Cadotte is accused of having incited 79 employees of SNC-Lavalin to make, during 2009, political contributions totaling $237,000, other than out of their own property, to the Parti libéral du Québec (PLQ) and Parti Québécois (PQ), contrary to the provisions of the Election Act (EA). The second statement of offence concerns eight employees of the firm, who, during 2009, were incited by Mr. Cadotte to make contributions totaling $7,000, other than out of their own property, to three municipal political parties, i.e. Équipe Tremblay – Union Montréal, Lévis Force 10 – Équipe Roy Marinelli de Lévis and Équipe Labeaume de Québec, contrary to the provisions of the Act respecting elections and referendums in municipalities (AERM).

The corporate political financing scheme established within the firm meant that employees who made a political contribution systematically received an equivalent reimbursement from the employer. As such, the two statements of offence issued against the offender are based on the continuation of the reimbursement system in 2009. In addition to the minimum fine of $500 demanded in each statement of offence, additional fines totaling $244,000, corresponding to all illegal contributions reimbursed through this scheme during 2009, are being sought under the relevant provisions of the EA and AERM.

SNC-Lavalin has offered to collaborate as needed in order for the Chief Electoral Officer of Québec to gather the required evidence in support of the statements of offence issued against Mr. Cadotte.

Mr. Cadotte having entered pleas of not guilty, the Chief Electoral Officer of Québec will make no further comment.

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