MONTREAL – Former Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe has sought help from his lawyer to fight accusations that he mishandled public funds.
Duceppe says he will present a legal opinion on Monday to the parliamentary body that’s investigating allegations he used House of Commons funds for partisan purposes.
In a statement released Sunday, Duceppe said the legal opinion, prepared by his lawyer, will show he always made sure to respect parliamentary rules.
The former Bloc chief has been under scrutiny since a report surfaced last Saturday that he paid his party’s general manager for seven years with funds designated to run his Ottawa office.
Other parties in Ottawa have said the Bloc Quebecois broke parliamentary rules when it paid Gilbert Gardner public funds to work at the Bloc’s headquarters in Montreal.
Duceppe refuted the allegations again Sunday, calling them “false” and “partisan.”
The legal opinion will be submitted to the Board of Internal Economy, an all-party body that oversees MP expenses and is looking into the matter.
Duceppe said the Bloc Quebecois offered to participate but was denied entry.
“Unfortunately, the decision means our adversaries will deliberate in a closed-door session without hearing our point of view,” he said in the statement.
There had been speculation that Duceppe was planning a takeover of the Parti Quebecois from current party leader Pauline Marois.
But Duceppe, who stepped down as Bloc leader last May, announced after the accusations surfaced that he’s out of active politics at least until he clears his name.