No charges against Quebec’s ex-ag minister

Quebec’s director of prosecutions has decided not to pursue criminal charges against the province’s fired agriculture minister over allegations of “acts of a sexual character.”

The province’s director of criminal and penal prosecutions (DPCP) announced in a release Monday that the office was “not reasonably convinced” culpability could be proven against the provincial member for Brome-Missisquoi, who wasn’t named in the release.

Pierre Paradis, the MNA for Brome-Missisquoi since 1980 and agriculture minister from April 2014, was removed from the provincial Liberal government’s cabinet and caucus in January.

He was “excluded” from caucus after Premier Philippe Couillard was informed of a police investigation involving Paradis. CBC/Radio-Canada reported Monday that the complainant was an ex-employee of Paradis’.

The DPCP said Monday its officials have met with the complainant to inform her of the results of their review of the case and explain the reasons for its decision.

Out of respect for the privacy and reputations of victims as well as those subject to investigation, decisions not to lay charges are published only in exceptional cases, the DPCP said.

In this case, publishing the decision was found to be in the public interest, and to preserve public confidence in the justice system, the office said.

Paradis, 66, has sat as an independent member of the provincial assembly since January.

He previously served in cabinet portfolios including environment and municipal affairs and had chaired the Quebec assembly’s agriculture, food and fisheries committee from 2007 to 2012. He also ran unsuccessfully against Robert Bourassa for the provincial Liberal leadership in 1983. — Network

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