Hydro-Quebec and the Quebec Liberals are being embarassed by a major conflict-of-interest scandal only months before the next election.

Several top Liberals, including Robert Bourassa’s former chief of staff, Mario Bertrand, have made enormous personal profits due to their close relationship with the government and Hydro-Quebec, charges the opposition PQ.

Betrand sits on Hydro’s board of directors, but at the same time he owns over $1 million in shares in a company called M3i that gets a lot of business from Hydro-Quebec. Bertrand is also president of M3i’s board of directors.

M3i was started by another former top Hydro-Quebec official in 1990. The company grew rapidly after Hydro-Quebec gave it new cutting-edge computer software used to manage complex electricity networks.

The software turned into a big money-maker for M3i. In its first three years, the technology enabled M3i to grow from seven to 350 employees. Mario Bertrand’s shares in the company, initially worth $20,000, have sky-rocketed in value.

Natural Resources Minister Christos Sirros says Bertrand should give his profits back to the government.