Despite repeated requests by opposition parties, the official of the ministry of Agriculture (MAPAQ) and whistleblower, Louis Robert, laid off in January, will not be reinstated in its functions.
On Wednesday, the prime minister François Legault has brought to the defence of one who has proceeded with the dismissal of Mr. Robert, the deputy minister of the MAPAQ, Marc Dion.
A deputy minister may, “if he has good reasons,” to dismiss an employee, has supported the prime minister during the daily question period in the national Assembly.
“It is important to do so, it is important to prioritize the jurisdiction”, he commented, in the wake of the about contradictory required by the minister of Agriculture, André Lamontagne, last week, in connection with this dismissal.
About Mr. Dion, the prime minister said it was “a management expert, and it is for this that he was appointed deputy minister”.
The opposition parties denounce the fate suffered by Robert and feel that he should be reinstated in its functions, the time that light be shed on his dismissal was controversial, linked to the putative interference of the private sector in the research on the use of pesticides in agriculture.
But the government maintains its position : an inquiry has been made to the ombudsman.
On Wednesday, the liberal opposition has also called for a parliamentary commission to shed light on the whole story.
“The minister’s guardianship, was considered the liberal Gaétan Barrette, who speaks of an attempt to “cover up” and “censorship” of the whole affair by the government.
According to him, only a parliamentary commission would shine a spotlight on the circumstances and the reasons of the dismissal.
“It’s very serious what happens to Mr. Robert,” said the ex-minister Barrette.
“Two weights, two measures”
“Two weights, two measures”, said of his side, in a press briefing, the acting head of the Parti québécois, Pascal Bérubé, noting that the ex-minister MarieChantal Chassé had been excluded from the council of ministers for its communication problems, while Mr. Lamontagne remains minister, even if he gives “four versions” of different facts and “it happens” to the prime minister.
For days, the opposition parties argue that Mr. Robert has been the victim of retaliation for having attempted to defend the interests of the public in denouncing the interference of the private sector in governmental research.
His only crime “was to want to protect the people of quebec of the undue influence of private enterprise,” said Pascal Bérubé.
A week ago, the minister André Lamontagne has placed the government Legault in embarrassment, the result of his contradictory statements.
He claimed to have “authorized personal” to the dismissal of Mr. Robert, before retracting. He also said that the dismissal was related to reasons other than the lack of loyalty to the government, before changing his version of the facts.
Expert in the grain industry, Louis Robert had denounced the interference of the private sector in research conducted on the use of pesticides by the Centre for research on grains (CÉROM), funded by the québec government.
He was sacked on the 24th of January to have transmitted a confidential document to a reporter, as well as to have violated his obligations of confidentiality, according to the letter of dismissal made public.
According to Mr. Robert, who is contesting his dismissal, the researchers would be subject to pressures and even intimidation on the part of the private sector.