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CBC board member linked to allegations before corruption inquiry

05/04/2013 03:17 EDT | Updated 07/04/2013 05:12 EDT
A former mayor of Blainville, who now sits on CBC's board of directors, has been named before Quebec's corruption inquiry in connection with party funding allegations.

Pierre Gingras served as mayor of Blainville for 12 years. In 2007, he was elected as Blainville MNA for the Action démocratique du Québec.

In 2011, the Conservative government appointed Gingras to CBC/Radio-Canada's board of directors for a five-year term.

His name first came up at the Charbonneau inquiry in March when inquiry commissioners presented a chart showing the value of public engineering contracts doled out by the city of Blainville from 2002 to 2011.

Dessau was among the firms getting the lion's share of contracts until 2005, when Gingras left city hall.

The vice-president of Dessau, Rosaire Sauriol, told the Charbonneau commission that his company gave money to support Gingras' political party.

He testified that it was the only option if the company wanted to do business in the city.

“Not doing that would mean losing access to the market,” he told the commission.

More recently, Gingras's former municipal party was named during the testimony of veteran political organizer Gilles Cloutier.

Cloutier told the commission he took park in schemes meant to circumvent fundraising laws.

He said he was given an envelope containing $30,000 in $100 bills and asked to turn it into legitimate $750 cheques.

According to Cloutier, the money was intended to support the Parti de l'action civique de Blainville in a municipal election. Gingras, who founded the party, was its leader at the time.

The federal NDP has responded to the allegations, saying Gingras' appointment as a CBC board member was a partisan move. The Opposition party says board members should be above any suspicions.

“We have to know what the truth is,” said heritage critic Pierre Nantel. “We have to make sure that the Conservative people who have put this person in place have made the proper inquiries.”

Appointees to CBC’s board are recommended by Canada’s Heritage Minister, James Moore. A spokesperson for the minister’s office said it's important the Charbonneau Commission continue its work.

Gingras could not be reached for comment.

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