Members of the National Assembly will be able to continue to use their discretionary budget to financially support the holding of activities for the National Day of Quebec, but not for Canada Day, the Legault government has decided.
Unknown to the general public, the Volunteer Support Program (SAB) allows parliamentarians to sprinkle close to $ 100,000 a year in grants in their ridings.
This is usually an opportunity for MPs to help the local farmers' circle or the organizing committee of the local summer festivities.
Without fanfare, the CAQ decided to tighten the rules. From now on, a project "promoting Canada" is no longer acceptable, the same goes for a project "promoting the separation of Quebec," the details that made many elected officials wince.
Verification made with the cabinet of Minister Isabelle Charest, program manager, the consequences are more important for Canada Day organizers than for the festivities related to the National Day of Quebec.
In the eyes of the Caquist Government, since Canada Day promotes Canada, it can no longer be funded from the SAB.
"According to the rules, this type of activity is not eligible," said his spokesman, Alex Poulin.
Nothing to fear at the SSJB
The organizers of the regional activities of Quebec's National Day, like the very sovereignist Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste or the Mouvement national des Québécois, have nothing to fear.
"The national holiday does not promote the separation of Quebec, explains the relationship. Quebec's National Day promotes Quebec. "
He adds that the government has only written in black and white rules that were "implicit" before. A search of the list of grants awarded under the SAB, however, reveals that several MPs in the past funded the Canada Day Committee in their region.
This is the case of the member for Deux-Montagnes and current Minister of the Environment, Benoît Charrette, who gave $ 1,000 from his discretionary budget in 2016-2017.
Volunteer Support Program
Municipalities of Quebec
Municipalities of northern villages
(The grant must not allow members of the constituency office or his deputy to benefit from it)
Buying tickets for a fundraising dinner
Registration for conferences
An application promoting Canada
An application promoting the separation of Quebec