Opinion polls in the federal election campaign have shown an increase in support for the Bloc Québecois, and the party’s leader was riding that popularity when made a stop in Lachute on Friday, October 11.
Blanchet announced his party would introduce a bill in the House of Commons to better protect people from the leakage or theft of personal information from financial institutions.
“We want to be the conscience of the Québec national assembly in Ottawa,” he told a crowd of supporters in the parking lot of the Carrefour Argenteuil mall.
“The problem is that banks are governed by federal laws that allow them to choose the controls they put in place to prevent a fraudster from making a financial service request on behalf of a victim,” said Blanchet. His bill would make it more difficult for fraudsters to use that method of stealing people’s identity–and money.
The Bloc’s proposal is inspired by a European Union regulation that requires banks to have better protection procedures in place. Among the things it would do is increase fines for financial institutions where there are breaches in the protection of customer identity, require that each customer of a financial institution be contacted individually if their identity has been used fraudulently. Banks would be required to assume the cost of recovering stolen identities, and they would also be required to create a confidential whistle-blower line that employees could call to report suspected identity thefts.
Blanchet said the changes are necessary following identity thefts and leaks like the one that affected 2.7 million Caisses Desjardins customers in June of this year. He also referred to the leak of confidential information from Equifax, BMO/Bank of Montréal, and CIBC customers in 2016 and 2017. Blanchet noted that these incidents often affect the elderly and other vulnerable people.
“The federal government is the valet of the banks of Toronto,” said Blanchet. He said that the citizens of Québec are paying the price for that.
“It’s the fox surveying the henhouse,” he added.
However, Caisses Desjardins, the Bank of Montréal, National Bank, and the Laurentian Bank are headquartered in Montréal, not Toronto.
Blanchet did not take questions from local journalists during the stop in Lachute. He answered questions from Radio-Canada and Le Devoir about four Bloc candidates who made Islamophobic and racist social media posts. Blanchet issued an apology earlier in the week, but the candidates remain with the party. In Lachute, he said it is up for voters to decide if the candidates should be elected.
During the Lachute appearance, Blanchet was accompanied by Yves Destroismaisons, the Bloc Québecois candidate in Argenteuil-La Petite Nation, and Marie-Hélène Gaudreau, the party’s candidate in Laurentides-Labelle.