Jean Yves Lortie complains to reporters at the Conservative Convention about what he considered irregularities in the admission of voting delegates to the convention, Winnipeg, Man., Jan. 28, 1983. Peter Bregg/The Canadian Press
Michel Blanchet, a former federal civil servant, has come forward to back up a famous Canadian political operative’s story that he helped the Parti Québécois win a provincial election in 1981.
Political fixer Jean Yves Lortie told the CBC’s Wendy Mesley that during the close provincial race between Premier René Lévesque’s PQ and the Opposition Liberals, he revived the nearly defunct third provincial party, the Union Nationale, in hopes it would split the federalist vote.
On Wednesday, Blanchet told CBC News he was at a Quebec City restaurant with Lévesque’s then justice minister Marc André Bédard and longtime Conservative MP Roch La Salle.
La Salle said he would lead the new Union Nationale for $200,000, Blanchet said.
Bédard then appeared to go and make a phone call to get the deal approved, Blanchet said, adding he doesn’t know if the money was ever paid.
Bédard denies the meeting ever took place and said he didn't know La Salle had asked for or received money from the PQ.
During the 1981 election, Lortie said he spent hundreds of thousands of dollars of the PQ's money to fund more than 100 Union Nationale candidates, including members of his family. La Salle did lead the party during the campaign.