Charest government rocked by allegations of illegal fundraising

Former justice minister claims provincial Liberals exchanged judicial nominations for money

In an explosive interview with Radio-Canada that hit the airwaves Monday, Marc Bellemare, a former provincial justice minister in Quebec Premier Jean Charest’s government, alleged the provincial Liberals had engaged in illegal fundraising and influence peddling. Bellemare said he saw officials with the provincial Liberals take in large amounts of cash from party donors linked to the construction industry on at least two occasions in a bid to circumvent Quebec’s strict party financing rules. In exchange, Bellemare claims the fundraisers were given a say in the nomination of judges. Bellemare also claimed Charest brushed him off when he brought his concerns about the matter to the premier’s attention. Charest has vehemently denied the allegations, telling reporters he would be asking for a retraction and an apology from Bellemare. “[Bellemare] didn’t speak to me about it,” Charest said of the allegations of dubious fundraising. “I don’t know what he’s talking about.”

Toronto Star

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