NEWS

Que. MNAs share common front on corruption fight

10/29/2012 09:53 EDT | Updated 12/29/2012 05:12 EST
Combating corruption will be at the top of the agenda when Quebec politicians get down to business Tuesday, as the National Assembly convenes.

Pauline Marois's Parti Québécois minority government has ambitious plans to pass laws on corruption and language and to raise some taxes over the next few weeks.

Passing that legislation would have been unthinkable in the corrosive climate that dominated the National Assembly prior to the PQ's election in early Sept.

"The climate was dominated over the last years by this problem of corruption and collusion and asking for a commission," said Health Minister Réjean Hébert, a first-time MNA. "We have now that commission. That will, in my mind, improve the climate in the National Assembly."

Indeed, it appears that the PQ will have the support of the Liberal opposition when it comes to its battle against corruption.

The Liberals passed nearly a dozen anti-corruption laws of their own while they were in power.

"We think those laws were good, but there is evolution in this kind of corruption, and we have to improve those laws," said Liberal house leader Robert Dutil.

Dutil said the Liberals are ready to support legislation to ban companies from bidding on contracts if their principal stakeholders face criminal charges.

The second opposition party, Coalition Avenir Québec, seems ready to support any legislation that aims to stop bid-rigging and influence-peddling.

"I hope the government will stand strong against corruption and collusion, and we are ready to help them on that issue," said CAQ house leader Gérard Deltell.

The fight against corruption was one of the main planks of the CAQ's electoral platform.

"We made that our top priority," Deltell said. "What we have seen the last few weeks in the Charbonneau Commission goes beyond what we expected."

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