Verification of Serge Newberry’s comments to be part of the Lafontaine Islands committee
“A file at the Commission is never closed. At any time, we can resume the investigation” - CMQ
Article published on 24 August 2020
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During the MRC Pontiac meeting which took place on Wednesday (August 19), the mayor of L’Île-du-Grand-Calumet, Serge Newberry, asked to be part of this committee again. He maintained that he can act as a member without apparent conflict since in his opinion the Commission municipale du Québec (CMQ) considers that there is no conflict of interest for him to sit on this committee, even if he is owns two islands located near what could become a tourist and economic project in the Pontiac. Remember that Mr. Newberry’s two islands were initially identified as potential territory to be located in the park, but it was an error according to him

CHIP 101.9 therefore contacted the Commission municipale du Québec (CMQ) to verify whether it was true that the CMQ considers that there is no conflict in this context. After verification, that is not what was said. Here is the written communication between CHIP 101,9 and the spokesperson of the Commission, Isabelle Rivoal.

***

CHIP 101.9: "Is it true that the CMQ declared or affirmed that the mayor of L’Île-du-Grand-Calumet, Serge Newberry, was not in conflict in the Lafontaine Islands file? (If yes, we would have a few questions for this person).

Isabelle Rivoal: "What I can tell you today is that at the end of the day, following the administrative investigation carried out by the Directorate of Litigation and Investigations of the Commission, following a disclosure made public then, it was not considered appropriate to continue the investigation and to cite this elected official in municipal ethics for conflicts of interest.

It is also important to know that a file at the Commission is never closed. At any time, the CMQ can resume its investigation (following disclosures or on its own initiative). New elements could lead the Commission to reassess the current situation, and see whether or not a person puts himself in a situation of conflict of interest, or in a situation with certain probative breaches.

The Commission constantly reminds us that prudence must guide the conduct of elected officials.

***

Remember that after a vote by show of hands, the majority of mayors did not accept his appointment to the committee. On the other hand, some elected officials were ready to move forward if the CMQ had really declared that there was no conflict.

Remember that last October, following the revelations of the newsroom of CHIP 101.9, the MRC Pontiac had decided to abandon the committee to form a new one.

Note that for the municipality of L’Île-du-Grand-Calumet, councilor Alice Meilleur-Pieschke was appointed to this committee.

Resolution from MRC Pontiac

Considérant l’adoption de la résolution C.M. EX-2019-10-05 concernant la création d’un Comité de la MRC au sujet du Parc National des Îles Lafontaine;

Considérant que le mandat de ce comité inclut :

· L’évaluation de la faisabilité d’un projet de parc national aux Îles Lafontaine;

· La création d’une stratégie pour le développement d’un parc national aux Îles Lafontaine si les résultats de l’évaluation de faisabilité sont positifs;

· La collaboration avec les intervenants et acteurs du milieu.

En conséquence, il est proposé et résolu que les membres suivantes soient nommés au comité du Parc National des Îles Lafontaine :

· Mme Cyndy Phillips, Directrice du développement économique (membre non-votant)

· M. Donald Gagnon, élu

· M. Alain Gagnon, élu

· M. Maurice Beauregard, élu

· Mme Alice Pieschke, élue – municipalité de l’Île-du-Grand-Calumet

Il est également résolu que la participation au sein de ce comité du maire de l’Île-du-Grand-Calumet, qui a également manifesté un intérêt pour y siéger, soit considérée selon la volonté du Conseil une fois la décision rendue par la Commission municipale du Québec (CMQ) à l’égard de la divulgation de conflit d’intérêts apparent énoncée dans la résolution C.M. EX-2019-10-06.

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