Threats and arson: Businessman muscled out of selling pipes
Published Tuesday, September 10, 2013 10:06AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, September 11, 2013 8:39AM EDT
The owner of a company that manufactures and sells drainage pipes shared gripping testimony at the Charbonneau Commission Tuesday, explaining how he faced threats and violence after moving into a new market.
Jocelyn Anctil, a businessman in the Eastern Townships, he told the corruption inquiry that one of his competitors, Ray Coulombe of Les Ponceaux de L'Estrie in Stuckley, disliked that Anctil was selling more pipes than he was, and that Coulombe routinely called Anctil's clients and yelled at them.
Anctil's factory was also the target of arson, he said.
“On March 30, 2009, a fire destroyed our plant in Eastman,” he said.
After that, Anctil testified arsonists were setting fire to every place he stored plastic pipes, an estimated loss of nearly $1 million.
He hired a private investigator and police also looked into the crimes. Anctil became convinced that Coulombe was responsible for the arson, and he was not willing to compete against someone so dangerous.
"When we would see that threat we wouldn't bid anymore. Or we would bid much higher. Or we would try to get information from the suppliers and asked if Ponceau de L'Estrie quoted or not. So if he would say 'Yes he is in on it, he called me,' at that point we would decide not to go for it at all," testified Anctil.
Coulombe was charged with multiple counts of arson, but passed away of natural causes before the case went to trial.
Before the commission, Anctil explained how he was fortunate that his company was able to survive despite the heavy losses to arson, and pointed out that many companies cannot do the same.
He gave up selling pipes to protect his family, he said.
“It's as if I reached a breaking point. I didn't want to live that stress anymore,” he said.
He recommended the government create a type of bankruptcy-protection equivalent for companies that are targeted by criminals.