5 questions with Montreal inspector general Denis Gallant

Denis Gallant visited CBC's Daybreak studio on his first day of work to talk to Mike Finnerty about his new role and his plans for the city.

City Hall's first corruption watchdog chats with CBC Daybreak about his plans for the city

Denis Gallant, who was a lawyer with the Quebec corruption inquiry, begins his new role as city inspector-general today. (CBC)

Montreal's brand new inspector-general, Denis Gallant, has begun his first day of work today at city hall.

The new office, which comes with a $5 million budget, was one of Mayor Denis Coderre's key campaign promises. 

In his new position, Gallant will be in charge of weeding out corruption connected to the awarding of city contracts.

Gallant, best known for his work as a lawyer for the Charbonneau Commission, has a long history of fighting organized crime. He also worked as a Crown prosecutor specializing in the fight against organized crime and illegal drugs.

Gallant visited CBC's Daybreak studio on his first day of work to talk to Mike Finnerty about his new role and his plans for the city.

Mike Finnerty: What are you going to do, exactly, as an inspector-general?

Denis Gallant: The job will give me the power to inspect every contract that involves Montreal taxpayer money. It could involve a range of industries, including the construction business, the computer business and snow removal. 

MF: Despite all the work that's been done by the Charbonneau Commission, is it possible that we still have this endemic corruption problem? 

DG: I don't know, but that's my first goal — to see if there's any more corruption. It's possible ... It's quite possible. 

MF: What will you do if you do find something that you think is fishy or corrupt?

DG: Stop the proceedings. I can stop an ongoing contract before they give it to the winning bidder. If I have reasonable grounds to see that there is corruption under the criminal law, my duty is to send that to the police. Then those people could be charged and prosecuted.

MF: Who do you want to work for you as a part of your office?

DG: I want lawyers, I want specialists in contracts, former investigators, people who know the city.

MF: You have spent quite a few months at the Charbonneau Commission. You have uncovered a lot and people have been shocked in many instances. When you found these things out, were you surprised, were you disgusted, were you angry? 

DG: Let me tell you, I was not surprised, but I was surprised to see how deep it was. We heard a lot of people, journalists, talking about it. You would read information about corruption and collusion, but that deep... I was surprised.