Deputy Minister Andre Lavallee criticized by Liberal Party
Published Friday, November 9, 2012 10:12AM EST
The Minister responsible for Montreal is facing criticism from the Liberal party over a recent political appointment.
Jean-Francois Lisee named Andre Lavallee, the former mayor of the Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie borough, as his deputy minister.
But Lavallee was on Montreal's Executive Committee when it awarded a series of controversial contracts to construction companies, and was a key figure in implementing the Bixi bike-sharing service.
Now, as a member of the Parti Quebecois's inner circle, the Liberal party is demanding explanations about contracts Lavallee oversaw while at the city of Montreal.
During question period Thursday, Liberal ethics critic Lise Theriault pointed to questionable contracts approved unanimously by the Executive Committee in 2009, when Lavallee was vice-chair.
"Just to be sure if the contracts and the decisions that Mr. Lavallee took part in are okay," said Theriault.
Those multi-million dollar contracts are now being examined by the Charbonneau Commission, after Lino Zambito and others said that bribes were paid to ensure they were approved by the city of Montreal.
Theriault is accusing the PQ of pressuring Montreal mayor Gerald Trembaly to resign while giving his former second-in-command a free pass.
"I think it's not fair if the Parti Quebecois says because Mr. Tremblay is a Liberal, he has to think about what he's supposed to do. Mr. Lavallee is a pequiste, he worked for the Parti Quebecois for ten years, so for him it's okay," said Theriault.
Lisee says he has full confidence in Lavallee and says he questioned him thoroughly before appointing him to his position.
He also asked Lavallee to make himself available to the Charbonneau Commission, and Lavallee agreed.
"For me, that's enough," said Lisee. "If proof comes up against any person who's part of the government now or was before, then we'll let justice take its course."
Lisee says the Liberals are trying to make Lavallee "guilty by association" and he's not buying into it.
For his part Lavallee is guilty of one crime.
In 1971 he robbed a bingo hall in a failed plot to finance the Front de Liberation du Quebec. Using a toy pistol Lavallee and his 'cell' stole less than $40 from a bingo hall.
Police were aware of the plot, and arrested Lavallee and several conspirators on the spot.
As La Presse discovered in 2009, each was fined $25 for their role in the crime.
Andre Lavallee was former borough mayor for Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie.