Pauline Marois denies secret deal to halt inquiry

Quebec Premier Pauline Marois in Montreal, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014. (PASCALE LEVESQUE/QMI Agency)

Quebec Premier Pauline Marois in Montreal, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014. (PASCALE LEVESQUE/QMI Agency)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:04 PM ET

MONTREAL — Premier Pauline Marois denies allegations of a secret deal between her husband and Quebec's top union to halt a corruption inquiry.

In a wiretapped phone conversation from 2009, Quebec Federation of Labour president Michel Arsenault spoke of a "deal" with Marois' husband Claude Blanchet to protect the union's reputation.

Blanchet was head of the QFL's Solidarity Fund at the time and Marois was opposition leader.

"Well, there was no deal, and there is no deal," Marois told reporters on Wednesday in Davos, Switzerland, where she's on an economic mission.

She said it was her Parti Quebecois that demanded then-premier Jean Charest call a public inquiry into allegations of corruption and collusion involving politicians, bureaucrats and organized crime.

Charest created the inquiry in 2011, and the wiretapped conversations between Arsenault and fellow executive Jean Lavallee were played at the inquiry on Tuesday.

"I want to set it up for both of us to talk to the PQ because there cannot be an investigation, there's nothing but sh** that will come out," Lavallee told Arsenault on the phone.

At another point, Arsenault is heard saying "Well, they are in trouble because we have a deal with Blanchet there."

Lavallee confirmed Tuesday that he and Arsenault were referring to Marois' husband Claude Blanchet.

Lavallee denied pressuring the PQ to block the creation of the commission.

He didn't provide further details, citing memory lapses that he said were related to a recent operation.


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