Ratthé has been suspended from the Coalition Avenir Québec caucus and will sit as an independent in light of anticipated allegations stemming from his run for mayor of Blainville in 2005.
Ratthé says he believed the mayoralty campaign was clean but says he understands the CAQ's policy of zero tolerance with respect to corruption.
He told reporters, "In the past I suggested that politicians concerned by allegations should temporarily step out, step aside. It is therefore logical for me to apply the same rule for the sake of the Coalition Avenir Québec."
CAQ leader François Legault announced Ratthé's suspension on Tuesday afternoon. Legault said he asked Ratthé to resign from the party after the Blainville MNA told Legault he had received a call from the commission's investigators.
They told Ratthé that Roger Desbois, the current witness before the inquiry, will testify about having paid cash to an organizer on Ratthé's Blainville campaign.
“Personally, it was not an easy decision,” Legault told reporters.
“For me, it’s important that we protect the reputation of the Coalition Avenir Québec,” Legault said.
The party leader said Ratthé will remain an independent until Ratthé’s name has been cleared.
Desbois testimony to continue on Wednesday
Desbois was on the stand at the inquiry for the most of the day, Tuesday. The lawyer for the 76-year-old former engineer with Tecsult Engineering requested that the proceedings be stopped earlier than usual due to his client's heart condition.
During his morning testimony, Desbois described an entrenched system of collusion in Laval. He testified about collecting cash for the former mayor of Laval, Gilles Vaillancourt, and for himself.
He told the commission about an alleged 2 per cent kickback system involving companies doing business with Laval.
He testified that the system generated a great deal of money for Vaillancourt's political party, about $2.7million dollars over 6 years. During his testimony Desbois said at one point the former mayor told him he could keep $100,000 in cash.
Desbois told the inquiry he spent some of the money, but turned the rest of it over to police when he decided to cooperate.
His testimony is to continue Wednesday morning.
Guy Chevrette to wait to testify
The former PQ minister will have to wait to appear before the Charbonneau commission. The inquiry rejected several requests from Guy Chevrette to be heard right away.
Chevrette wanted to counter allegations made by retired political organizer Gilles Cloutier.
Chevrette who held cabinet positions under Jacques Parizeau, Lucien Bouchard and Bernard Landry, wanted to be granted standing at the inquiry so that Cloutier could be cross-examined.
Chevrette's appearance before the inquiry will not be moved forward.