Union Montreal seeks tougher rules to crack down on corruption
Published Sunday, October 21, 2012 4:51PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, October 21, 2012 6:50PM EDT
City hall is asking for the province's help to fight back against corruption after weeks of damning allegations of city corruption and collusion at the Charbonneau Commission.
The Union Montreal party announced Sunday it will put forward a motion at city council Monday evening asking Quebec to change political party financing and amend Bill 35, the law that governs how city contracts are awarded.
The mayor’s party is seeking tougher rules when it comes to awarding city contracts, as well as changes to the way municipal parties are financed.
Union Montreal said both of these changes should help minimize corruption and collusion, issues that have taken centre stage at the Charbonneau Commission into corruption in the construction industry.
In recent weeks, allegations of bribes and kickbacks have piled up on the provincial and municipal levels.
Former city engineer Gilles Suprenant said he admitted to accepting $600,000 in bribes to help contractors secure city projects.
City councillors need to take action to regain public trust, said executive committee member Marvin Rotrand of Union Montreal.
“Too many companies guilty of fraud just simply create a sister company or find subcontractors to work through,” he said, addressing the press with fellow executive committee member Richard Deschamps.
Mayor Gerald Tremblay was absent.
“We understand that some people may have questions about the mayor. I think most people have confidence in the mayor,” said Rotrand.
Rotrand and Union Montreal want the provincial government to amend Bill 35, and are also seeking a $200 limit on individual donations to political parties.
“There is a perception in the public that the limits for contributions are too high. Right now a $1,000 is allowed for donors of the provincial and municipal parties and people think it’s a formula for money laundering under false names,” said Rotrand.
Union Montreal is hoping for unanimous support for its resolution, set to be presented to council Monday,
Louise Harel, leader of opposition party Vision Montreal, said the measures don't go far enough.
“For this kind of decision, we have to do more than what they propose,” she said.
Rotrand said he also wants the Charbonneau Commission to investigate part its 15-year mandate, back to the early 1990s, when Pierre Bourque of Vision Montreal was mayor. At that time, Vision Montreal pleaded guilty to over 200 counts of money laundering. The city never learned which companies were involved.
“Were these construction companies that are now being investigated? Was a system put in place in the 1990s? Did municipal civil servants lie and mislead city councilors?” he asked.
Back from an overseas tour, Premier Pauline Marois refused to comment Sunday morning on recent allegations from the Charbonneau Commission.