Quebec to reimburse grieving couple: Q&A with McGill professor

"It’s not about the money, it’s about what happened," says Prof. Daniel Beland of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada, after the CAQ offered to reimburse a grieving couple who paid $200 to meet with a minister. Alyssia Rubertucci has more.

The CAQ is offering to reimburse a grieving couple who paid $200 to meet with Transport Minister Genevieve Guilbault to talk about their fight against drunk driving.

Embroiled in a fundraising controversy, Premier Francois Legault’s party has been on the defensive in recent weeks.

RELATED: Quebec government offers to reimburse grieving couple for donation

CityNews sat down with Professor Daniel Béland, the director of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada to find out more.

What do you make of the latest allegations against the party, grieving parents paying for access, as well as previous allegations that mayors have to pay to meet with Cabinet Ministers?

“Yeah, it looks very bad for the CAQ. Of course, they have already announced that they will no longer take donations from individuals moving forward. But we hear more of these stories and each time it’s difficult for the CAQ to respond to that and specifically in this case, grieving parents, they actually recognize the staff member and the MNA who actually advised this couple to attend this fundraiser. They recognize the wrongdoing. But giving their money back sounds like adding insult to injury. I don’t think that it’s what’s needed at this point. It’s not about the money. It’s about what happened.”

How do you think that the government responded to this? Is it enough to say that they’ll only rely on public funding after the different allegations?

“Paying for access is a no-no. If they had enforced the rules properly with their staffers and the MNA’s, they will not be in that situation. I don’t think it’s the idea that people contribute to political parties. It’s only up to $100 in Quebec. Not long ago, the CAQ was supporting increasing that amount to $200. It’s $100 except during an election year where it’s $200. They said they would increase it to $200 in general. But then they said, no, we won’t take that money anymore. And then they basically pressured the other parties to do the same, but they won’t. Because in the end, it’s the CAQ’s responsibility to fix the way they are dealing with this.”

How can the CAQ recover from this already being down in the polls?

“It’s really hard. It seems that every day you have new revelations or statements that are really problematic on their part. And the idea of reimbursing the couple, like if it was really mainly about this $200, about the amount per se, I think it doesn’t solve the problem at all for them. And really, it makes the CAQ look bad once more.”

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