ontario news watch

Grieving parents said they were told to pay $200 to meet Quebec minister

QUEBEC — The parents of a woman who was killed in a car crash say the Coalition Avenir Québec party offered access to the provincial transport minister for $100 per person.

Antoine Bittar and Élizabeth Rivera shared their account today during a legislature hearing.

Bittar says he had been advocating for tougher drinking and driving legislation when the CAQ offered an opportunity to meet Minister Geneviève Guilbault by paying to attend a fundraising cocktail.

Bittar says he and his partner paid the sum because he felt it was a chance to press his cause and keep it from stagnating.

The couple says they were offered four minutes with the minister, two minutes per person.

Guilbault confirmed to reporters today that she had met the couple at the October 2023 fundraising cocktail, adding that it was an employee of another member of the legislature who had invited them.

She says she had no idea the couple were asked to pay money to meet her.

The CAQ has been criticized by the opposition in recent weeks for its fundraising strategies, including allegations that mayors were pushed to pay $100 — the annual limit for political donations — for access to cabinet ministers.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 8, 2024.

The Canadian Press