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Geneviève Lajoie May 29, 2012
The lawyer for the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) [translator’s note: the crown corporation responsable for licensing drivers and providing public auto insurance] who organised the Lawyers’ Demonstration against Law 78 should be severely sanctioned, estimates the minister Pierre Moreau.
The Minister of Transportation hasn’t digested the conduct of François Desroches, a lawyer working at the SAAQ who organised the robed lawyers march through the streets of Montreal Monday night.
“If this is the case, given that he is acting as a lawyer, it is not only a grave lack of judgement on his behalf, it’s also a lack of loyalty and the duty which is imposed on him by virtue of articles 10 and 11 of the Law on Public Function and I sincerely hope that the individual in question will be sanctioned to the level to which he proved his lack of judgement,” thundered Minister Moreau on Tuesday, shortly after the question period on the National Assembly.
Mr. Desroches could face sanctions ranging from a verbal reprimand to dismissal, he reported.
“I think that a lawyer, who is paid by the taxes of taxpayers to work at the SAAQ has things to do other than organising cooking pot demonstrations in the streets and I think that taxpayers will be okay with that and so that it is my opinion that the individual who lacked judgement needs to be severely sanctioned,” fulminated Pierre Moreau before turning away.
In a press release published in the afternoon, the Association des juristes de l’État (AJE) [translators note: State Lawyers Association] pointed out that its members are subject to professional discretion relative to the activities of the government, ministers, and organizations that employ them.”
“If members of the AJE participated in the robed demonstration in Montreal yesterday it was done in a spontaneous and individual manner, without any involvement from the AJE. We can nevertheless understand the decision some of our members made to demonstrate considering the situation they live in themselves” asserted Annie Godbout, vice president of the AJE.
When contacted by the Journal, the person concerned, François Desroches, refused to comment. The other organiser of the march, the lawyer Rémi Bourget, who works at a private practice, reacted:
“Our march yesterday had in particular the goal to denounce that the Minister of Education entrusts in Law 78 exorbitant powers that surpass the framework of executive power in allowing it to interfere with the administrative process, judiciary, and even legislative. It is all the same ironic that the reaction of Minister Moreau, a lawyer himself moreover, is to attempt to interfere in an administrative inquiry within his ministry. It seems that the authoritarianism of Law 78 has rubbed off on members of the executive. We have reason to be afraid,” he said to the Journal.
Translated from the original French by Translating the printemps érable.
*Translating the printemps érable is a volunteer collective attempting to balance the English media’s extremely poor coverage of the student conflict in Québec by translating media that has been published in French into English. These are amateur translations; we have done our best to translate these pieces fairly and coherently, but the final texts may still leave something to be desired. If you find any important errors in any of these texts, we would be very grateful if you would share them with us at email@example.com. Please read and distribute these texts in the spirit in which they were intended; that of solidarity and the sharing of information.