Corruption inquiry: FTQ whistleblower reveals troubling practices
Published Monday, September 30, 2013 12:05PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, October 1, 2013 7:29AM EDT
MONTREAL -- Some troubling practices within Quebec's construction unions were under the spotlight Monday as the Charbonneau Commission resumed to work after a one-week hiatus.
The commission heard from whistleblower Ken Pereira, whose revelations have already rocked the upper echelons of union group the FTQ-Construction in recent years.
Pereira testified how he rose quickly through construction union ranks, but always asked a lot of questions, which got him in trouble with his superiors at the FTQ.
Pereira said he noticed rampant favouritism, starting with training opportunities.
“Not everyone could take the courses. Priority went to those close to the directors,” he said.
Pereira eventually joined a competing union, the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council, known by its nickname, The International. It wasn't much different from the FTQ, he said, adding he was pressured into favouring certain workers over others, even if they weren't qualified
“The only pressure I ever faced came from my director… to place certain people on specific work sites,” said Pereira, adding that he didn't like doing this, because he felt it was a bad business practice.
“You can't send 10 bad workers on a construction site. You will hurt the contractor, and you will give the union a bad name,” she said.
Pereira also noticed irregularities in the union's expense accounts.
He said became persona non-grata, but the FTQ-Construction's Jocelyn Dupuis lured him back to his old union with a new, well-paid executive job.
He soon became concerned about the enormous amount of power union leaders had.
“If I'm corrupt and I have full power, I will corrupt everything else,” he said.
Pereira would eventually sink his own boss, Jocelyn Dupuis, after exposing alleged fraud of at least $50,000 on his expense account.
More bad news for the FTQ
The Charbonneau Commission also rejected a request from the FTQ-Construction's lawyer, asking that wiretap evidence not be used.
Those wiretaps are expected to reveal more questionable practices at the FTQ in the days to come.