Quebec's Liberal government is under pressure Thursday to defend itself against allegations that two Liberal Party MNAs were investigated for illegal fundraising in 2012 but never charged.
The allegations were made by Yves Francoeur, president of the Montreal police brotherhood, in an interview on a French-language radio station Thursday morning.
Francoeur contended that a former MNA, along with a second MNA who is still serving, were the subject of a police investigation that started in 2012.
He said the investigation linked the two MNAs to an illegal fundraising scheme involving a real-estate company with ties to organized crime.
Francoeur claimed charges should have been laid, but the investigation came to a halt.
"They were followed, there was electronic surveillance, there's a whole file to proceed on," he said.
He spoke of two representatives of the "judicial system" telling him "if they weren't two elected Liberals, the charges would have proceeded to court," he said.
Francoeur said the charges that could have been laid included fraud, influence peddling and modifying legislation in exchange for contributions to the Quebec Liberal Party.
Liberals on the defence
In question period in the National Assembly on Thursday, the Liberals faced questions from the Opposition about the allegations.
Calling Francoeur "credible," the Parti Québécois critic for public security, ethics and integrity, Pascal Bérubé, asked the Liberals who would have put pressure on Crown prosecutors to drop the investigation, and which two MNAs were being investigated.
Justice Minister Stéphanie Vallée replied that the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DPCP) is independent and was created to keep politics and the judicial system separate.
"Together, unanimously, the National Assembly created the DPCP, which is sheltered from all pressure and political pressure, journalistic pressure, police pressure, media pressure," she said.
"In short, the DPCP is doing its job in total independence — free of any pressure."
Vallée invited Francoeur to forward any information he has regarding the investigation to the chief Crown prosecutor's office.
Calling the situation "extremely serious," Coalition avenir Québec house leader Éric Caire said a parliamentary committee should invite Francoeur to explain his allegations.
In a statement, the DPCP also invited Francoeur to provide the Crown with any information he had, adding that it will only pursue charges if it can prove them beyond a reasonable doubt.
"The criteria guiding DPCP prosecutors to lay charges or not depends on our ability to prove them in court and are dictated by the rule of law and the application of facts in an impartial and objective manner," the DPCP said in the statement.