Mayor Applebaum throws support behind new anti-corruption panel
Published Thursday, January 24, 2013 9:13PM EST
MONTREAL—A former Parti Quebecois minister will chair a new committee to clean up the sometimes murky relationship between municipal contracts and the construction industry in Quebec.
On Thursday, Mayor Michael Applebaum said he was confident former Municipal Affairs Minister Jacques Leonard is the right person to lead the 10-member panel to fight corruption. The Quebec government is also throwing its weight behind Leonard.
“What we're setting up today with Jacques Leonard, whose competence and experience is unmatched, is to look at ways to make the attribution of contracts in the City of Montreal both ethical and efficient,” said Jean-Francois Lisee, the minister responsible for Montreal.
Leonard will head the new advisory committee created to review how city contracts are awarded and will make recommendations on how to fight corruption and collusion. There will be oversight on contracts involving roads, infrastructure and real estate.
“This is a work-in-progress,” cautioned Applebaum. “We will not go out to tenders or award contracts unless we have a clear understanding that we're making the right decision in the interest of the City of Montreal.”
There are no elected officials on the committee.
Leonard will be joined by nine other board members including Alain bond, the city's comptroller general and retired Surete du Quebec investigator Roland Frechette.
Montreal opposition leader Louise Harel says the committee is a step in the right direction, but she says there's a lack of fresh faces.
“Many members of this committee have been involved in the administration for many years and we really need a new look,” said Harel.
The mayor says each committee member was chosen for their specific expertise and he's counting on them to come through with recommendations by April.
Michael Applebaum speaks to reporters in Montreal, Friday, Nov. 16, 2012. (Graham Hughes / THE CANADIAN PRESS)