Quebec's anti-corruption unit apologizes to MNA Guy Ouellette

Guy Ouellette is seen in this undated image taken from video.

The commissioner of Quebec's anti-corruption unit apologized to independent MNA Guy Ouellette Thursday, in the wake of an arrest by UPAC three and a half years ago.

The author of the book 'Qu'on accuse ou qu'on s'excuse,' ('Whether we accuse or apologize') published last September, finally won his case.

"Since the events, the facts have shown that the arrest of Mr. Ouellette by UPAC was the result of an investigation that was faulty in certain respects and that this arrest was unjustified," said Commissioner Frédérick Gaudreau during a brief news conference held in the main hall of the National Assembly in Quebec City.

On Oct. 25, 2017, Ouellette, a Liberal MNA at the time, was arrested while presiding over the work of the Commission on Institutions at the National Assembly. He was then suspected of having orchestrated the leak of UPAC documents to journalists, which the MNA had always denied.

"UPAC apologizes for the devastating consequences that this arrest and intrusive investigation may have had on the professional and personal life of the MNA for Chomedey, his family and friends, and his parliamentary colleagues. We are aware that these events have affected the integrity of the Chomedey MNA and have caused him irreparable harm and we sincerely apologize for this," continued the UPAC boss.

Before leaving without answering questions, Gaudreau said that "out of respect for parliamentarians and the institution that is the National Assembly," he was reserving his comments for the press briefing that he will call later.

As for Ouellette, who had set up this meeting with the media, he said only that it was "an important step." In the fall of 2018, he filed a $550,000 lawsuit against Quebec's attorney general for damage to his reputation, moral prejudice and monetary loss.

"You know my story, it's been going on for four years. This morning, I am taking the hit. I would ask you to respect my decision not to comment on this morning's UPAC statement," he said.

- This article was first published by the Local Journalism Initiative on June 10, 2021.