The President of the National Assembly and Lévis deputy, François Paradis, will leave political life with the certainty that the momentum of transparency that he brought to the institution is irreversible.
His liberal predecessor, Jacques Chagnon, ruled in Parliament. He was fueled by shelled lobster and redacted responses to legitimate media requests for information.
François Paradis, a former host of a phone show defending the ordinary world, has brought sound, economic practices and more light to the assembly since his election as president following the 2018 election.
However, he enjoyed the same discretionary powers that allowed him to circumvent the Access to Information Act and had agreed to disclose all of his expenses at the court’s request protocol after a year in office.
The President provided his bills, from cleaning to transportation costs to meals.
I remember our investigative team’s response in October 2019 to the bill for a “croque-monsieur” consumed by the President while traveling.
In sharp contrast to the one who “paid to draft” the elected officials who accompanied him on a parliamentary mission around the world.
And the next?
On June 3, President Paradis announced that he would not stand in the next elections.
So, a few months after his term ended, we had to ask ourselves: What would prevent a future President of the National Assembly from becoming a believer in secrecy and lavish spending?
“The transparency rules are official, they have been approved,” emphasizes François Paradis in a long interview in his office.
“Every president, whoever he is, has an obligation to continue on this path. We couldn’t come back and fall into opacity. »
If we look at the latest papers published on official travel expenses, we see that earlier in the year the President traveled to Paris in economy class.
So it will be when he soon goes to the Assembly of Parliamentarians of La Francophonie in Kigali, Rwanda.
President Paradis put an end to the abuses, opened the books and ushered in a digital transformation forced by the pandemic and work-life balance measures in Parliament.
No regret ?
He left politics without having tasted the post of minister that was believed to be his destiny after his first term in the opposition. Does he regret it? No, he said despite some hesitation.
The official-elect explains that he chose the post of president from among the various roles that were available to him after the CAQ’s victory because he saw it as an extension of what he wanted to achieve in his media career.
“Sticking to people, giving people space, improving the institution, being more efficient, more human,” he lists.
“I felt the allegations, the concerns of the public, I heard them. What are they doing with our money? How do you spend it? The concern was to undermine people’s confidence in the machinery of the political class. »
A large amount of information is now available. Not just for the presidency.
There is disclosure of cabinet expenses and district offices.
And transparency inevitably forces tighter management of public funds.
“Proud to be there,” repeats François Paradis to convince us that he “doesn’t worry about the rest”.
We want to believe it.
But we ask you, Mr. President, to leave the lights on when you go!
The quote of the week
Screenshot, TVA Nouvelles
“‘Think Big,’ as a character in a popular Quebec film used to say. So, we, we “think big” for our Capitale-Nationale. »
– Geneviève Guilbault, Deputy Prime Minister, who is not afraid to quote Elvis Gratton
A small Simard in Parliament
Photo agency QMI, Pascal Huot
René Simard received the insignia of Knight of the National Order of Quebec on Wednesday. As a tribute to him, François Legault recalled the famous advertisement and sang: “What makes the little Simards sing? The perennial favorite laughed: “I never thought the Prime Minister would sing The little puddings ! »