Corruption not limited to construction: Duchesneau
Published Saturday, October 13, 2012 4:41PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, October 14, 2012 12:31PM EDT
The former head of the province's anti-corruption squad is warning that the insidious problem isn't limited to Quebec's construction industry.
At a conference held by Montreal opposition party Vision Montreal Saturday, newly elected CAQ MNA Jacques Duchesneau said corruption at all levels of government is more widespread.
Vision Montreal leader Louise Harel said the public’s confidence in the system has been shaken by repeated allegations of corruption in government, both at the provincial and municipal level, that have come out as a product of the Charbonneau Commission into corruption in the construction industry.
Harel said that confidence must be restored and called for Mayor Gerald Tremblay to resign.
“It is time to reestablish and rebuild confidence,” said Harel.
The call for his resignation comes after allegations that his party was receiving kickbacks from questionable construction contracts.
The conference focused on how to restore public faith.
On the panel was Duchesneau, who, in June, was a star witness at the Charbonneau Commission, providing information about his time as head of UPAC, the province's permanent anti-corruption squad.
Saturday, Duchesneau said the corruption problem is worse than the allegations heard at the commission have suggested.
“The first thing we need to do is to have a better diagnostic of what is going on,” he said. “People think that collusion and corruption is only a construction problem. It is not. We need to go deep into analyzing what the problems are.”
Among his suggestions for restoring public confidence in the system:
- limit governments to two mandates
- review the financing of political parties and limits for electoral spending
- offer better protection for whistle-blowers
Also on the panel was Liberal MNA and former police officer Guy Ouellette.
He wouldn't specifically address the controversy surrounding former deputy premier Nathalie Normandeau, who allegedly accepted flowers and VIP concert tickets as gifts from former construction entrepreneur Lino Zambito.
He did, however, speak out strongly against corruption in broader terms.
“No one -- no matter where there are or who they are -- is above the law,” he said.
Panels like this show politicians are now under pressure to take action, said University of Montreal criminologist Andre Normandeau.
“It's a push for them to say we need to do something with regard to events that happen within our administration that are not acceptable,” he said.