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Duceppe denies wrongdoing as MPs expand partisan spending probe

Former Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe speaks to reporters after appearing before the Commons Board of Internal Economy on Feb. 13, 2012.

FRED CHARTRAND/Fred Chartrand/The Canadian Press

The all-party probe into the alleged misuse of parliamentary funds by the Bloc Québécois is expanding.

Former Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe appeared in front of the House of Commons Board of Internal Economy on Monday. After his in-camera testimony, Mr. Duceppe appeared confident and said he has no regrets about putting the party's former director-general, Gilbert Gardner, on his parliamentary office's payroll.

"Since when does respecting the law constitute an ethical lapse," Mr. Duceppe told reporters.

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However, the Board of Internal Economy said in a statement that Mr. Duceppe's appearance has actually raised new questions that now need to be looked into.

"As a result of his appearance and information provided, many additional questions have been raised. The Board will be continuing and expanding its review of the matter," the board said. "No further comments will be made at this time."

The other main federal parties said they would never put party workers on the payroll of the House of Commons.

However, the Bloc has argued that House rules allow for the budget of party leaders to be used for partisan purposes.

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About the Author
Parliamentary reporter

Daniel Leblanc studied political science at the University of Ottawa and journalism at Carleton University. He became a full-time reporter in 1998, first at the Ottawa Citizen and then in the Ottawa bureau of The Globe and Mail. More

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