Christian Paradis

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The Honourable
Christian Paradis
PC, MP
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Mégantic—L'Érable
Incumbent
Assumed office
2006
Preceded by Marc Boulianne
Minister for International Development
Minister for La Francophonie
Incumbent
Assumed office
July 15, 2013
Preceded by Julian Fantino (Int. Development)
Steven Blaney (La Francophonie)
Minister of Industry
In office
May 18, 2011 – July 15, 2013
Preceded by Tony Clement
Succeeded by James Moore
Personal details
Born (1974-01-01) January 1, 1974 (age 40)
Thetford Mines, Quebec
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Julie Roberge
Residence Thetford Mines, Quebec
Profession Lawyer
Portfolio Minister of Industry
Quebec Lieutenant

Christian Paradis, PC, MP (born January 1, 1974 in Thetford Mines, Quebec) is a Conservative Member of Parliament in the Canadian House of Commons for Mégantic—L'Érable. He was first elected in the 2006 federal election and served as parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources until January 4, 2007, when he was appointed Secretary of State for Agriculture and Agri-food Canada and the Rural Secretariat. On June 25, 2008, Paradis was appointed Minister of Public Works and Government Services, retaining his position as Secretary of State for Agriculture until October that same year. On October 30, 2008, in a cabinet shuffle following the election, he would retain the Public Works portfolio. In addition, he succeeded Lawrence Cannon as Quebec Lieutenant[1] and now sits directly beside Harper in the house of commons.[2] On January 19, 2010, in a cabinet shuffle, Prime Minister Harper appointed him Minister of Natural Resources. On May 18, 2011, in a cabinet shuffle he was appointed to be the Minister of Industry. On July 15, 2013 in a cabinet shuffle, he was appointed as Minister of International Development and Minister for La Francophonie.

A lawyer by profession, Paradis has a legal practice in Thetford Mines where he also served as president of the chamber of commerce. He is a graduate of the Université de Sherbrooke and has a masters degree in corporate law from Université Laval.

Paradis has been a staunch defender of Canada's asbestos mines, but recently gave in to global pressure to list asbestos as a hazardous chemical.[3]

Corruption allegations[edit]

Opposition parties called for Paradis to step down following the resignation of his senior aide Sebastien Togneri on September 30, 2010. Paradis accepted the resignation of Togneri but refused to resign himself after allegations of political interference in access-to-information requests were reported in the Public Works ministry.[4] Togneri is alleged to have interfered with at least four access-to-information requests while working for Paradis.[5][6]

On October 3, 2010, MP Siobhan Coady requested the Information Commissioner of Canada investigate the PMO, Paradis and his Natural Resources Ministry staff. Coady claims Togneri "counselled or demanded that documents be withheld from the public,and engaged in a systematic, prolonged effort to block access-to-information requests." She further requested that the Information Commissioner look for examples of interference in other departments and any involvement of the PMO.[7] Paradis aides Jillian Andrews and Marc Toupin also attempted to block access-to-information requests in the department according to emails obtained by the Parliamentary Ethics Committee.[8][9]

Paradis is also facing allegations of providing favorable treatment to construction contractors seeking Federal Government business during a Conservative party fundraiser in the Montreal-area riding of Bourassa in January 2009. Initially Paradis told the House of Commons "At no time was there any discussion about government business, it was strictly a fundraising event.”[10][11] Construction company owner Paul Sauvé, who organized the event, claimed that he heard Paradis talking about government contracts with Joseph Broccolini of Broccolini Construction. Paradis subsequently changed his story. Paradis now acknowledges that he discussed government business with a big construction contractor. Broccolini recalls “The only question I had time to ask the minister was about a project for which we submitted a proposal to a public bid process and that was cancelled afterwards" and “I just wanted to know if he was aware of the reason for the cancellation of the (request for proposals). The minister suggested I call his cabinet and someone there could perhaps ask the people at Public Works what the reason was. It was clear that the minister did not know and did not want to talk about it. We didn’t discuss any future projects or future work with the federal government." Broccolini’s company has received more than $650 million in government contracts.[12]

Sauvé's company received a $9 million contract to renovate Parliament’s West Block. Sauvé and Gilles Varin, a Conservative Party organizer, are the subject of a RCMP probe relating to the West Block renovation contract.[13] Opposition politicians allege a Conservative staffer interfered with the bid process of the West Block renovation contract to allow Sauvé's company to qualify for the work. Sauvé paid $140,000 to Gilles Varin who subsequently discussed the contract with Bernard Côté, a staffer representing Michael Fortier who was Minister of Public Works at the time. On September 21, 2007, the Public Works Department amended clauses in the bid which allowed Sauvé to submit a bid for work in which the company was previously unqualified to do. Paradis took over the Public Works portfolio after Michael Fortier lost the 2008 election. Sauvé's January 2009 fundraiser was attended by West Block contractors who paid $500 to $1000 to meet with Paradis.[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Leblanc, Daniel (October 30, 2008). "This page is available to GlobePlus subscribers". Toronto: Theglobeandmail.com. Retrieved 2011-04-11. 
  2. ^ http://www.parl.gc.ca/ParlBusiness/House/SeatingPlan/SeatingPlan.pdf
  3. ^ CTVNews.ca Staff. "CTV News.ca - Canada will no longer oppose global fight against asbestos: Paradis". CTV News.ca. CTV News.ca. Retrieved September 22, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Aide quits, but minister refuses to resign". www.nationalpost.com. Retrieved 2010-10-02. 
  5. ^ "Info-meddling probe may widen". cbc.ca. October 1, 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-02. [dead link]
  6. ^ "Togneri just following direction from the top". thechronicleherald.ca. Retrieved 2010-10-02. 
  7. ^ "Liberal MP asks information watchdog to investigate Paradis, PMO". canada.com. Retrieved 2010-10-03. 
  8. ^ Smith, Joanna (October 4, 2010). "More Christian Paradis aides vetted information requests". Toronto: www.thestar.com. Retrieved 2010-10-05. 
  9. ^ "Two more Tory staffers tried to block access to information: docs - Winnipeg Free Press". winnipegfreepress.com. Retrieved December 15, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Christian Paradis, "Government Contracts" on October 6th, 2010". openparliament.ca. Retrieved October 19, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Christian Paradis, "Government Contracts" on October 8th, 2010". openparliament.ca. Retrieved October 19, 2010. 
  12. ^ Rennie, Steve (October 13, 2010). "Tory minister changes story, admits talking government business with contractor". thestar.com (Toronto). Retrieved October 19, 2010. 
  13. ^ "MPs to probe Parliament Hill West Block renovation contract controversy". winnipegfreepress.com. Retrieved October 19, 2010. 
  14. ^ "Tender change helped Montreal firm land Hill work". thechronicleherald.ca. Retrieved October 24, 2010. 

External links[edit]

28th Ministry – Cabinet of Stephen Harper
Cabinet Posts (3)
Predecessor Office Successor
Tony Clement Minister of Industry
2011-2013
James Moore
Lisa Raitt Minister of Natural Resources
2010-2011
Joe Oliver
Michael Fortier Minister of Public Works and Government Services
2008-2010
Rona Ambrose
Sub-Cabinet Post
Predecessor Title Successor
New Portfolio Secretary of State (Agriculture)
(2007-2008)
Jean-Pierre Blackburn
as Minister of State (Agriculture)