Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Cancel Anytime
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Canada’s most-awarded
newsroom for a reason
Stay informed for a
lot less, cancel anytime
“Exemplary reporting on
COVID-19” – Herman L
per week
for 24 weeks
Get full access to
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Parti Quebecois leader Pauline Marois (R) smiles as she walks with her husband Claude Blanchet following her vote in her home riding in Beaupre, Quebec, September 4, 2012.


The commission of inquiry into Quebec's construction industry received precise allegations of illicit political donations to former premier Pauline Marois's husband, but never brought them to the public's attention, according to newly released documents.

The revelation, contained in documents filed with Quebec's press council, raises questions about the Charbonneau Commission's efforts to get to the bottom of the fundraising system that plagued the province's politics for years.

The public inquiry ended its hearings last summer after uncovering evidence of large-scale corruption and collusion in the worlds of construction and engineering in Quebec. However, the commission has been criticized for not looking deeply enough into fundraising at the provincial level and a number of high-profile officials were never asked to appear in front of Commissioner France Charbonneau.

Story continues below advertisement

The notable absents included former premiers Jean Charest and Ms. Marois, former top Liberal fundraiser Marc Bibeau, and Ms. Marois's husband, businessman Claude Blanchet.

Documents filed as part of a dispute in front of Quebec's press council now raise concerns about the questions asked of witnesses who did appear at the public hearings.

An unnamed senior executive at a major engineering firm told commission investigators that he personally provided $5,000 in cheques to Mr. Blanchet as part of the Parti Québécois' fundraising efforts in 2008, according to documents filed by Radio-Canada with the Conseil de Presse du Québec.

The donations exceeded the maximum individual donation of $3,000, and the funds were provided as part of a system in which firms unlawfully reimbursed their employees' donations to political parties, according to Radio-Canada.

Radio-Canada has alleged that in addition to the $5,000 donation, Mr. Blanchet asked another senior engineer in the province in 2007 for a $25,000 donation to Ms. Marois's PQ leadership campaign.

Radio-Canada's source for the information on the $5,000 donation provided an account of his dealings with Mr. Blanchet to investigators and lawyers at the Charbonneau Commission during preliminary meetings.

"This [executive of an engineering firm] was at the heart of a system of illicit donations to political parties for a number of years," said Radio-Canada's submission to the press council. "In fact, according to a senior member of the Charbonneau Commission, this witness was one of the most credible he had met. … For reasons [the witness] doesn't know, he was not asked about the events involving Claude Blanchet during his public appearance."

Story continues below advertisement

The public broadcaster provided the information as part of the defence of its original story on the donations, which aired on March 31, 2014.

Ms. Marois and Mr. Blanchet denied any wrongdoing at the time, and the Conseil de Presse, acting on a complaint, launched a review. In its finding last month, the body ruled against Radio-Canada, accusing the news organization of "using unjustified complaints from an anonymous source and representing information in a biased way."

Radio-Canada appealed the ruling, providing new information on its sources as part of its defence. In particular, the media organization said it had received permission from one of its sources to divulge the fact he had appeared in front of the Charbonneau Commission.

After the press council's ruling, the PQ slammed Radio-Canada for its news report, which aired during last year's provincial election.

"We are still asking for an apology for the damage inflicted upon Ms. Marois, Mr. Blanchet and the party," PQ spokeswoman Antonine Yaccarini said on Tuesday.

The Charbonneau Commission's final report will be released in November.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to
Comments are closed

We have closed comments on this story for legal reasons or for abuse. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies