Pierre Karl Péladeau is defending his decision to intervene in a business transaction involving his company Quebecor, saying it was for the good of his constituency and the Quebec economy.
“I did it as the representative for St-Jérôme — to promote the economic development of the Laurentians,” Péladeau wrote on his Facebook page earlier this morning.
An article in La Presse published Friday revealed that Péladeau asked MNA Jacques Daoust, Quebec’s minister for the economy, innovation and exports, to intervene in a legislative committee hearing in July to push for Mel’s Studios, a large Montreal film studio that's up for sale, to remain in the hands of a Quebec business.
Only two companies were in the running to purchase Mel’s: Quebecor Media International and Clearlake Capital, an American investment firm.
Daoust called the situation delicate and difficult, but he refused to answer a Radio-Canada reporter’s question about whether he felt Péladeau was in a conflict of interest.
“A conflict of interest? Well, I think you’d have to ask him how he feels about this file,” he said.
Daoust said he was surprised when Péladeau approached him.
"If I had discussed it openly, it could have scared off the parties, and it could have tainted the transaction," he said.
In his post on Facebook, Péladeau said he would contact the province's ethics commission to clarify the situation.
"If I put myself in a position of apparent conflict of interest according to the Code of Ethics and Conduct for Members of the National Assembly of Quebec, I apologize ," Peladeau wrote.
Mel's Studios in Montreal's Technoparc has been the location for all the big Hollywood blockbusters in production in Montreal for the past 12 years. Built by Mel Hoppenheim, the studios – along with the prop and equipment rental location – was sold to Vision Globale in December 2012.
Vision Globale put the company up for sale this past summer.