Presse Canadienne reported that an internal source confirmed that Nantel was sanctioned for having sent an email directly to a large number of members to request funding.
Nantel’s team hasn’t questioned the regulation but does have a problem with the interpretation of the rule. They claim nothing prevents them from communicating with supporters of the candidate, including members.
“If I write to my former university colleagues and send 300 emails and there are 25 of them who are members, it is not prohibited and that is what we are doing now,” said Martin Beaudry, a spokesperson for the candidate’s team.
He noted an identical situation occurred before the COVID-19 pandemic and that the electoral officer at the time, Agnes Maltais, who “is not a beginner,” gave them the okay.
The Nantel team maintains that the list of members provided by the PQ does not include email addresses and that, therefore, they are unable to identify the names to be removed from their own list.
They claim to have taken several steps to comply with the interpretation of the rules made by the party, in particular by proposing that the party remove from their email list people who are members and even hire an external firm at their own expense to do this work in a neutral fashion.
“That was of no interest to them,” noted Beaudry.
While the sanction appears to be largely symbolic, Beaudry told Presse Canadienne that it sends a message about the integrity of the candidate.
“This is to tell the world that Guy Nantel does not respect the rules,” he said.
The PQ has been without a leader since the resignation of Jean-François Lisée on the evening of the general elections of Oct. 1, 2018, when the party suffered a historic defeat. Pascal Bérubé, the MNA from Matane is the interim leader.