Mayor Tremblay seeks powers to combat bid-rigging
Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay (left) expressed anger that the RCMP did not share evidence of alleged bid-rigging scandal years ago, meanwhile the new minister responsible for the city Jean-Francois Lisee, has opened the door to fast new rules on construction contracting. (CP file photos)
Published Thursday, September 27, 2012 9:46PM EDT
MONTREAL - Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay and his counterparts from the Montreal Metropolitan Community (CMM) are demanding that Quebec rapidly enact new measures to battle corruption in the awarding of municipal contracts.
Following a meeting with the Minister Responsible for the Montreal Region, Jean-François Lisée, Mayor Tremblay said he did not want to wait for the resumption of the National Assembly and the adoption of legislation before putting an end to questionable practices in the industry.
Mayor Tremblay said he was deeply shocked by Thursday’s testimony at the Charbonneau Commission which shed light on alleged bid rigging that has taken place in Montreal in recent years.
Tremblay has also expressed anger at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who sat on the information without passing it along to his staff.
“If I had seen those images from 2004-2005 sooner, I would have acted in a different way. I would have asked the Quebec government to give us the tools to deal with it and we would not waited seven years," said Mayor Tremblay.
He explained that the cities have their hands tied in the current legal framework and that municipalities have been taken hostage with the current rules.
“I understand we live under the rule of law and we must comply with the laws to the effect that a person is presumed innocent. I agree with that. But when you see what we saw yesterday, claims of innocence have their limits,” said Tremblay.
The Mayor of Laval, Gilles Vaillancourt, for his part, welcomed the Lisée’s input.
“The Minister has vowed to allow 35 cities to have a better control over the awarding of contracts and to eliminate the possibility of collusion. That finally finally responds to the many requests we have made over years," said Mayor Vaillancourt in a statement.
“I hope now that this ministerial commitment can be achieved as quickly as possible so that we can put it into place before the end of the year," he added.
The Leader of the Opposition at Montreal City Hall of Montreal, Louise Harel, was not persuaded by Mayor Tremblay’s statement, saying it showed willful blindness to the collusion and corruption in the awarding of construction contracts.
“His pattern is to claim that should have been informed. We tried so many times to sound the alarm on this issue. In fact, it was he who did not want to know," said Harel.