A municipal councilor in Saint-Laurent-de-l’Île-d’Orléans, who has placed himself in a conflict of interest situation with his company, has just been suspended for 45 days without pay.
Nicolas Girard admitted his breach of the Code of ethics and professional conduct. He had pleaded guilty during a hearing of the Commission municipale du Québec in December.
The elected representative from Orléans is also a partner in the Croisières Orléans company, an SME that offers guided tours in zodiacs. His company obtained rental leases in 2018, 2019 and 2020 for land owned by the municipality. The lease contained an exclusivity clause, which gave it an undue advantage and represents a “preferential condition” in the eyes of the law, noted Judge Thierry Usclat.
The judge retained several mitigating factors. In defense of Mr. Girard, the clause was already included in the lease in 2017, before his election. The contract was simply renewed afterwards.
Even the independent Commission prosecutor stressed that the elected official had always acted “in good faith”.