Quebec announces permanent anti-corruption squad
Published Friday, February 18, 2011 12:52PM EST
Quebec is expanding its anti-corruption squad, and making it a permanent fixture.
On Friday public security minister Robert Dutil announced that the creation of a permanent agency modelled after New York's anti-corruption investigators.
The 100 investigators and officers already working on Operation Hammer will be absorbed into this new agency, which will share resources and tap into expertise from Revenue Quebec, the Regie du Batiment and other government departments.
The squad has a $31.5 million budget, and a plan to have 189 people working year-round, but it does not have a person in charge.
This past week there were rumours that Bloc Quebecois MP and former PQ MNA Serge Menard would head the agency, but that turned out not to be the case.
On Friday Dutil said that he does not yet know who will head the organization.
The move by the province comes at a time when many critics have called for a public inquiry into corruption in Quebec's political circles, as well as its construction industry.
To date Operation Hammer has arrested less than two dozen people and conducted 80 searches.