A deputy DG in a conflict of interest?

News 17 March, 2018
  • Photo Audre Kieffer, special collaboration
    The deputy DG of Weedon Fabian Garcia (left) and mayor Richard Tanguay will not hide it : they are strongly in favour of the mega-project of the factory of medical cannabis which could establish in their municipality.

    Annabelle Blais

    Saturday, 17 march 2018 00:00

    Saturday, 17 march 2018 00:00

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    The deputy DG of the municipality of Weedon, to accompany a company that wants to build a mega-plant medical pot, was also the business partner of one of the shareholders of the same company, discovered our Bureau of investigation.

    “It is a bizarre situation, it doesn’t work in business like this,” says the former minister of municipal Affairs, Rémy Trudel, guest professor at the national School of public administration.

    Weedon is a small town of 2600 inhabitants, in the eastern Townships, which, with a name tailor-made, dream of becoming the capital of cannabis.

    She made the announcement last summer when it signed an agreement with the producer of pot MYM Neutraceuticals for a greenhouse project of cannabis.

    The deputy director general of Weedon, Fabian Garcia, has been tasked by the municipality to accompany MYM Neutraceuticals and its subsidiary CannaCanada. To do this, he wears a second hat, that of development officer for the economic development Corporation (a NPO created by the municipality and financed with public funds).

    In this capacity, Mr. Garcia collaborates with Antonio Bramante, a consultant CannaCanada, who is also a shareholder “within 10 %” of the same company.

    Business partners

    MESSRS. Bramante and Garcia have also been, until recently, business partners. They wanted to engage in industrial hemp cultivation on the agricultural lands of the public servant, located thirty kilometers from Weedon, in Bury.

    To formalize this project, Mr. Bramante was even filed, last October, an entry in the register of enterprises of Quebec (REQ).

    A city official and a developer can be business partners ?

    “That induced all kinds of appearance of conflict of interest, says Mr. Trudel. In public administration, the appearances are as serious as the conflicts of interest themselves. “

    “This was not a conflict “

    Even if it was a business with an investor that he must accompany them to the title of municipal officer, Fabian Garcia, himself, does not see a conflict of interest.

    “This was not a conflict [of interest] that much… because it was not profitable,” he maintains, attached to the phone.

    “In working for the development corporation, I have an ethics to follow,” he argued.

    Of the rest, the young father says that he had not the time to be involved in his project with Antonio Bramante.

    Two weeks ago, the record has been changed the REQ to register the end of the mandate of Fabian Garcia.


    The mayor sees no problem

    The mayor of Weedon, Richard Tanguay, does not see a problem with this as its deputy director general has been in business with an investor in a project to plant cannabis.

    Mr. Tanguay says that he was aware of the projects of cultivation of hemp from Mr. Garcia, but that he did not know that it was registered in the register of companies with Antonio Bramante.

    As to whether this could be an issue, the mayor replied : “Yes and no, he [Mr. Garcia] has the right to grow hemp as a farmer. I don’t see any major problem. The only problem I would see is if Weedon bought his hemp. “

    He added that the City wants to encourage the agricultural producers of the region to make the production of hemp.

    Hemp is a cannabis variety which is less concentrated in THC. You can use the seeds, leaves or even the stem to make textiles, in particular.

    Still waiting

    The project Weedon dangled 400 jobs, a real lifesaver for this small municipality.

    Its promoters MYM and CannaCanada are still waiting for their licence from Health Canada. In addition to greenhouses of medical cannabis, the project also includes a museum, a cafeteria, a restaurant, a hotel, a clinic and a centre for research and innovation in the cannabis.

    This centre will also develop applications for industrial hemp, in collaboration with the corporation’s economic Weedon.

    In January, MYM had to apologize to Guy Lafleur after our Bureau investigation had revealed that its president, Yann Lafleur said falsely, in a press release, to be the nephew of the hockey player.