Saturday, June 14, 2008

Bernier intervention in Quebec City land development sought by Kevlar-Couillard

There is a second new development today in the Bernier-Couillard quagmire. We have been told that Bernier refused Couillard's efforts to lobby him with respect to the Kevlar efforts to develop a federal building project in Quebec City. From the Globe on Thursday:
In an attempt to contain the growing damage from the Couillard affair, Conservative officials said yesterday there was no inside intervention in favour of the Kevlar bid.

"Mr. Bernier clearly did not accept to be lobbied," a senior official said.
Former Bernier aides gave the same information to La Presse that Bernier refused to be lobbied in respect of Kevlar.

But the Globe report today suggests that there was an intervention of a different kind from Bernier. Bernier made an intervention with the Treasury Board in respect of what land would be involved in the project:
Sources said this week that Ms. Couillard promoted Kevlar's bid for a federal real estate deal in Quebec City with Mr. Bernier. The sources said Ms. Couillard had initially approached an adviser to Public Works Minister Michael Fortier on the same issue.

Given that it was a Kevlar official who introduced Ms. Couillard to Mr. Bernier in April, 2007, opposition MPs accused Ms. Couillard this week of having attempted to infiltrate the government to favour Kevlar's bid.

However, government officials said Mr. Bernier never helped Kevlar. Initially, the federal project called for the construction of a major building for 750 bureaucrats in downtown Quebec City. Kevlar owned a parking lot in the area and hoped to build the federal building on that site.

But Conservative officials said Mr. Bernier intervened to expand the area in which the project could be built to include a poorer part of Quebec City where land prices are cheaper. Sources said that Mr. Bernier made his intervention at Treasury Board, a cabinet committee where deliberations are kept secret. (emphasis added)
That revelation, from Conservative officials, needs scrutiny, to say the least. Hmmm...wonder if Bernier remembers anything about this...