Outrage from Tremblay lieutenants as police brotherhood claims mayor has 'zero credibility'
Published Tuesday, October 9, 2012 12:58PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, October 10, 2012 8:13AM EDT
MONTREAL - Mayor Gerald Tremblay confidence crisis grew worse on Tuesday as the Police Brotherhood announced that it was “seriously uneasy” with Montreal police budgets and priorities being set by the Tremblay administration.
The announcement was followed hours later with the second opposition, Projet Montreal, pledging to table a motion of non-confidence in the embattled mayor at the Oct. 22 city council meeting.
The brotherhood’s shot across the bow came a week after entrepreneur Lino Zambito testified at the Charbonneau Commission that Tremblay’s political party, Union Montreal, pocketed three per cent of the value of construction contracts put out by the city.
The mob allegedly only charged 2.5 per cent for each contract.
“There’s a problem with the principle that the SPVM’s priorities are brought in front of a public security committee controlled by a party that is allegedly corrupt,” wrote brotherhood president Yves Francoeur on Tuesday.
“Reporting to this administration is immoral, if not indecent,” continued Francoeur. “I’ll be the first to presume innocence; however a lot of allegations are starting to pile up.”
Charging that Union Montreal has “zero credibility,” Francoeur called on the provincial government to take corrective actions before the credibility of Montreal’s police force was damaged.
On Tuesday afternoon, the mayor’s lieutenants fired back and demanded that Francoeur rectract what they called “irresponsible declarations,” made without any evidence of wrongdoing on the mayor’s part.
The head of the city’s public safety commission, Claude Trudel, said he was “completely outraged to see an experienced police officer condemn the mayor without proof.”
Trudel was singled out by name in Francoeur’s comminique.
Majority house leader Marvin Rotrand said taxpayers can trust the public security committee with the police budget.
“The council of the agglomeration, which includes all the suburban mayors, gets to vote on it. If there were anything that were untoward, it would come up,” said Rotrand.
Supporting the brotherhood, Project Montreal leader Richard Bergeron called Gerald Tremblay’s mayoralty “unsustainable” on Tuesday, announcing his party’s intent to remove the mayor.
Deploring that the Montreal police’s budget is not dealt with in a public setting, but in a closed committee meeting, the party also listed a number of grievances with the mayor.
Vision Monreal leader Louise Harel made it clear her party is also seeking transparency.
“We demand many modifications to this commission of public security,” she said.
The Montreal police have disputed the opposition’s claim that budgeting and strategy are set in secret.
While a motion of non-confidence would not legally remove the mayor—no such tool exists to remove municipal politicians in Quebec—Project Montreal councillor Alex Norris said such a move would show city council trying to maintain its credibility.
With a Union Montreal majority in council, the motion would likely be defeated in any case.
The timing has raised some suspicions as the Tremblay administration is currently in talks to renegotiate and reduce the pensions of public workers—including the city’s police officers.
In a statement Tuesday afternoon, Montreal police spokesman Ian Lafreniere said that the force has all the independence it needs to execute its mission.