Christian Paradis: Call For Ethics Probe Into Federal Office Move In Tory Minister's Quebec Riding

Christian Paradis

First Posted: 02/24/2012 4:00 pm Updated: 02/24/2012 9:30 pm

OTTAWA - There's a request for the federal ethics commissioner to investigate the transfer of an Employment Insurance processing centre in Quebec.

The NDP asked Mary Dawson Friday to look into Industry Minister Christian Paradis.

It said there's no good reason to have moved the centre from Rimouski, which is located in one of the many Quebec ridings held by the NDP, to Thetford Mines, which happens to lie in one of the very few Conservative ridings.

That Tory-held riding of Megantic-L'Erable belongs to Paradis, the party's Quebec lieutenant.

There was a report Friday in a Montreal newspaper, La Presse, that the new centre will rent an office that belongs to a business partner of Paradis' father.

The newspaper said Ghislain Dionne is his father's partner in the same law firm where Paradis worked before entering politics.

The NDP filed a complaint with Dawson, asking her to step in.

"The facts speak for themselves," said Guy Caron, the NDP MP for a Rimouski-area riding.

"There was no valid reason to have moved the office to Thetford Mines, save for patronage. And the fact that someone close to minister Paradis is benefiting directly, for us, that's a clear conflict of interest."

Caron said his area will lose $1.8 million in economic spinoffs. He also said the federal government will be on the hook for $1.2 million for violating the conditions of a Rimouski lease that ran through 2018.

Paradis has so far declined to comment on the allegations.

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With files from CBC

Filed by Michael Bolen  |