We received a clarification from COJEM vice-president of communications Andrée Corriveau, who stated that in 2013 the minister of Education, Recreation and Sports under the Parti Québécois government, Marie Malavoy, signed a letter of support to WEG 2018 stipulating that it was conditional to the same funding from the federal government. The City of Bromont signed the same agreement.
Following a change of government, the new Liberal minister, Yves Bolduc, had to revise the letter to confirm its support to WEG2018, in which there was no mention of conditional support of the federal government. The City of Bromont then changed its letter accordingly. On December 15th, 2014, the City Council approved its support of WEG2018.
“By law, UPAC answers all calls, this one by an unknown citizen of Bromont. UPAC then came to Bromont without a mandate or precise questions or issues, other than doing its job,” explained Corriveau.
The City of Bromont has confirmed financial support and services to WEG2018 worth $2 million. It provided COJEM with $400,000 for work in 2015 as a first installment, with another $400,000 committed under the 2016 budget.
The Unité permanente anticorruption (UPAC, the provincial anticorruption police unit) in Quebec is investigating claims of collusion and cronyism in the City of Bromont, after receiving complaints from concerned citizens. While much of the investigation revolves around accusations of corruption regarding area construction projects, the World Equestrian Games (WEG) is also involved. One of the members of the public who alerted authorities was quoted in the regional newspaper La Voix de l’Est, “For a long time there are persistent rumors of cronyism in almost all major transactions in Bromont, which combine municipal politics and business. There is a flagrant lack of transparency. It was accentuated over the last few months. Especially when people learned that Mayor Pauline Quinlan modified a letter of support for the candidacy of Bromont for WEG, without presenting it to the board as should have been done.”
The whistleblower was referring to the town of Bromont’s letter of support for the WEG, which was submitted to the FEI last year by mayor Quinlan. It is alleged that the original letter submitted with the first bid in 2013 was approved by town council and stipulated that the town’s support was conditional on financial support from the federal government, which never materialized. The FEI requested a new letter be provided when the bid was resubmitted in 2014 and Quinlan is accused of removing the original stipulations without approaching city council for approval.
The investigation is ongoing and details will be made public as they become available.