Quebec union doesn't want wiretaps played at corruption inquiry

MONTREAL – A powerful Quebec labour union is fighting to keep wiretaps from being played at the province’s corruption inquiry.

A lawyer for the Fonds de solidarite FTQ, the big union venture-capital fund, says the inquiry has no right to play those wiretaps.

The request is on behalf of two people including Michel Arsenault, who’s not only the union president but also the president of the board of the investment fund.

They argue that the recordings are of private conversations and, in their argument, have cited the U.S. Edward Snowden case while discussing privacy concerns.

The FTQ fund has more than $9 billion in net assets and is the largest of its kind in the country.

It would feel the biggest impact from a move, announced in the last federal budget, to phase out a tax credit for union-backed mutual funds. The Harper government argues that the credit leads to inefficient investment decisions at a cost of $140 million a year to the federal treasury.

The role of construction unions, and the FTQ fund, is expected to be a major focus of the Quebec corruption inquiry this fall.

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