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.Former Bernier aides gave the same information to La Presse that Bernier refused to be lobbied in respect of Kevlar.
"Mr. Bernier clearly did not accept to be lobbied," a senior official said.
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.That revelation, from Conservative officials, needs scrutiny, to say the least. Hmmm...wonder if Bernier remembers anything about this...
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)