Thursday, May 02, 2013

"..... Another one bites the dust, another one bites the dust and another one gone and another one gone ....."

Stormin' Norman Sabourin, Executive Director/Senior General Counsel/Unofficial Head of Gatekeeping Services

The Canadian Judicial Council will review the conduct of the Honourable Michel Déziel

Ottawa, 2 May 2013 –The Canadian Judicial Council has indicated that the Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Quebec, having learned of allegations made against the Honourable Michel Déziel during the hearings of the Commission of inquiry into the granting and administration of government contracts in the construction industry, has brought the matter to the attention of the Council.

Council takes seriously all complaints about Superior Court judges. This matter will be reviewed by the Vice-chairperson of the Judicial Conduct Committee. The mandate of the Council is to determine if a judge could be unable to discharge their duties, pursuant to the provisions of the Judges Act.

In the current matter, it is important to note that the allegations are not proven and that the Commission is continuing its work.

Information about the Council, including its Complaints Procedures, can be found on the Council's website at www.cjc-ccm.gc.ca.

Contact:
Norman Sabourin
Executive Director and Senior General Counsel
(613) 288-1566 ext 313

Charbonneau Commission: Quebec Superior Court judge named in political fraud

Witness Gilles Cloutier says Michael Denziel gave him $30,000 cash, via engineering firm Dessau, to boast Blainville municipal party's coffers

By Monique Muise
Thursday, May 2, 2013
The main portion of Gilles Cloutier's testimony has now wrapped up at the Charbonneau Inquiry. He will be cross-examined by several lawyers before testifying under a publication ban about his dealings in the town of Boisbriand - currently at the centre of a court case.

MONTREAL — A Quebec Superior Court judge has become the latest high-profile personality to be named at the Charbonneau Commission.

Michel Déziel, appointed to the bench in 2003 by the federal government, was working as a lawyer back in October 1997 when witness Gilles Cloutier says he “committed fraud.”

Cloutier, a former political organizer who has pointed the finger at numerous elected officials during his time on the stand at the inquiry, testified that Déziel handed him $30,000 cash, which he said had come from engineering firm Dessau. According to the witness, Déziel wanted Cloutier to find 40 people in the town of Blainville who were willing to write $750 donation cheques to a local municipal party, identified as Action civile de Blainville.

Cloutier said he was to use the cash to reimburse those people, referred to as “straw men” donors.

Cloutier’s own employer at the time, engineering firm Roche, was not present in Blainville in 1997, he explained, so he saw no problem with helping Déziel.

According to Clouttier, the lawyer handed him the cash in “a white envelope” and only the two men were present for the exchange.

“He committed fraud,” Cloutier calmly told the commissioners. “I had a duty to mention it now that he’s a judge.”

Earlier in the morning, the name of former Parti Québécois transport minister Guy Chevrette surfaced once again, with Cloutier testifying that Chevrette attended a cocktail fundraiser in 2001 for PQ MNA Lucie Papineau at his request. The entry price for the event was $1,000, Cloutier said, and 15 construction executives were invited. Each was granted “about five minutes” with Chevrette, the witness added.

Establishing links at the provincial level was critical, Cloutier explained. Roche contributed to both the Quebec Liberal Party and the PQ, he said, because the ministers in Quebec City had the power to get subsidies for municipal contracts approved.

“There’s no (municipal) contract if there’s no (provincial) subsidy,” Cloutier said. “That’s why you had to finance at the provincial level.”

The main portion of Cloutier’s testimony wrapped up at the inquiry shortly before 11 a.m. He then faced a tough round of cross-examination from the lawyer representing Roche, his former employer. Michel Massicotte, an experienced attorney who once represented Boston Bruins defenceman Zdeno Chara in the criminal case linked to his violent hit on Canadiens left-winger Max Pacioretty, attacked Cloutier’s credibility and suggested that he was nothing more than a rogue consultant.

Cloutier pushed back, pointing out that no one at Roche ever told him to stop engaging in collusion.

Cloutier is expected to be cross-examined by several additional lawyers, including Estelle Tremblay for the PQ, before testifying under a publication ban about his dealings in the town of Boisbriand – currently at the centre of a court case.

mmuise@montrealgazette.com
Twitter: monique_muise

"The Honourable" Justice Michel Deziel

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