February 29th, 2024

Fundraising scandal: Quebec’s CAQ says ready to end donations to political parties

By The Canadian Press on January 31, 2024.

A Quebec cabinet minister says the Coalition Avenir Québec party is prepared to have a discussion on ending citizen contributions to political parties, after controversies about its own members' fundraising practices. Partial results from the Quebec election are seen on a television screen at the CAQ gathering in Quebec City on Monday, Oct. 3, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

QUEBEC – The Coalition Avenir Québec party says it’s prepared to end citizen donations to political parties, after controversies about its members’ fundraising practices.

Jean-François Roberge, the minister responsible for democratic institutions, raised that possibility today after several CAQ members were accused of soliciting $100 donations to the party from mayors hoping to meet with ministers.

The Canadian Press reported earlier this week that almost half of Quebec’s mayors have contributed to the governing party’s coffers since the 2021 municipal election, for a total of nearly $100,000.

Roberge’s suggestion comes amid strong criticism from opposition parties, which have accused the governing party of monetizing access to its ministers.

Education Minister Bernard Drainville said today that people attending fundraising cocktails sometimes bring up files they want to advance, but he minimized the influence these brief conversations have.

Under Quebec’s Election Act, only citizens – not legal entities such as companies or unions – can donate to political parties, and the maximum donation is $100 per year, with an extra $100 allowed for general elections or byelections.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 31, 2024.

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