Below is a transcription of NDP leader Thomas Mulcair’s statement given to Quebec’s anti-corruption squad that I received. I cannot of course confirm its accuracy so please keep that in mind when reading:
I, Thomas Mulcair, do solemnly state the following:
I have known Serge Ménard for decades, having served as president of the Office des professions du Québec between 1987 and 1993. That was before I got started in politics. Serge had been the president of the Quebec Bar. If memory serves, his term as president of the Bar was up or maybe he was being replaced, but I think he was one of the Bar presidents I worked with very briefly. I was also acquainted with his wife, who was a criminal lawyer. In the matter at hand, Mr. Ménard and I never had the opportunity to discuss things beforehand. As for my friend Vincent Auclair, yes, Vincent and I had the chance to talk about it, and I have to tell you that when I watched the first accounts of this on television before the holidays, I was in my hotel room talking to the tv because I heard the reporter saying: “And Vincent Auclair claims he was offered money by Mayor Vaillancourt.” I spoke about this with Vincent. We each went through something very similar.
To place the 2006 conversation in context, I was no longer a minister, I had left the Department of the Environment at the end of February 2006 and I left politics in March 2007, in other words a year later. So that was the year it took place. The Assembly did not sit at the beginning of 2007, so I’m situating our conversation with him in 2006. It was an informal discussion between colleagues, and it took place at the end of a work day. He told me about something that was very similar to what I myself had experienced, but with one notable difference: I cannot state that Gilles Vaillancourt ever offered me money; that would be false. In fact, he never spoke to me about money, he never offered or showed me money. According to Mr. Ménard’s account, he saw money. Mr. Vaillancourt spoke to me about help, and it was my understanding, when I heard Mr. Vaillancourt defending himself, that perhaps he himself had thought about what it could be because he was saying that it could be any number of things. Vincent and I talked about this. Vincent told me the same thing, that when Mr. Vaillancourt offered to help him, he drew back. I had the same physical reaction to Vaillancourt – I was uncomfortable. I drew back.
Vincent has been a stand-up guy throughout my dealings with him. And the difference is when the account came out on television, and I’ll pay close attention now, because the account that came out on tv is an interpretation that they’re making. It’s not necessarily what I’m hearing Vincent say. Even the day after or two days after, because I was paying close attention to this matter, if memory serves, because I haven’t gone back and checked the newspapers since then, but if I remember correctly, I heard Vincent change his account a little when he said: “I never spoke about money, I never said that he had offered me money; in fact, I said that he had offered me an envelope.” And that’s what I was telling my television set when I was in my hotel room: “You told me you hadn’t touched it, so how can you say it was money.”
In the second half of the 1994 provincial general election campaign, I received a message that Mr. Vaillancourt wanted to see me. I met him at City Hall, and he escorted me from the meeting room to a smaller room. He sat down in front of me and told me he wanted to help me. I said: “My organizers know everything I need.” It was very clear that he was holding something in his hand, which I could interpret – and in light of what came out with Mr. Ménard and Vincent Auclair – it was clear that it was something that could be interpreted that way. But he didn’t give me anything, he never spoke to me about money. He was holding it in his hand. He said: “I want to help you,” and he repeated it. And I said: “I have a good campaign, everything’s going well, thank you Mr. Vaillancourt,” and I physically drew away from him, because the situation was making me uncomfortable. I physically drew away. I promptly ended the meeting, I shook his hand and I left.
I never had any other meetings of that nature with Mr. Vaillancourt. We maintained a fairly professional relationship – this was in ’94 – until the year 2000. We would see one another maybe once a year to go over Laval issues. An offer of that nature or nothing like that ever came up after that. But in 2000, it took a turn for the worse with the collapse of the Souvenir Bridge. I was very insistent that the Quebec Provincial Police should investigate. In a relatively rare procedural move for the Assembly, I went so far as to force a question to be put to the Minister of the time, Serge Ménard, to learn how it could be that the Laval police were being put in charge of investigating an event on a site that came under the authority of the City of Laval. I was really very insistent. After that, our relationship turned frosty. This continued during my time as Minister – I was in open conflict with him on a number of issues, including the wetlands in Laval and particularly what’s known as the Islemere project. If you’re interested you should have a look, because as recently as last fall I was pushing very hard for a full investigation into this matter.
We really weren’t getting along too well, because I wanted the law to apply in Laval the same as it does in Longueuil, as crazy as that might sound.
To the extent that the word envelope has become synonymous, in this entire affair, with money, I must be very careful. I cannot state that Gilles Vaillancourt offered me or spoke to me about money. But yes, he had an envelope in his hands, and that’s why I’m telling you that the experience I shared with Vincent about this was similar. He held it in front of him – he never made a move toward me to proffer the envelope – he held it in front of him. While showing it to me and looking at me, he said: “But I want to help you,” and I physically drew back from the table and said: “I have all the help I need” – that was the kind of language I used – and he said: “No, but I want to help you,” as though he was saying “you don’t understand,” and I said “no thank you.” I got up and that was the end of my discussion with Mr. Vaillancourt. It was a white envelope. Exactly the description I heard Vincent give.”
Letter format. Had there been a letter folded inside, it would have been about 4-5 pages, folded.
Solemnly sworn before me, this 18th day of July 2011, in Montreal
Me. Patrick de Niverville
Attorney at Law # 181186-0