Laval Mayor Gilles Vaillancourt held his first city council Monday night since allegations surfaced that he offered envelopes stuffed with cash to some Quebec politicians.
Concerned residents along with supporters of Vaillancourt filled the seats in the council chambers at Laval City Hall.
Vaillancourt denied allegations that he tried to give illegal cash donations to Bloc Québécois MP Serge Ménard and provincial Liberal MNA Vincent Auclair during their election campaigns.
He vowed to stay in power and continue leading the city he has been in charge of since he was first election in 1989.
"I was elected by the population. I will not be governed by polls," said Vaillancourt at the meeting.
Some residents took to the microphone to ask Vaillancourt about the allegations.
'We want an honest response.' — François Lagarde, Laval resident
Resident François Lagarde asked Vaillancourt how he can say he has the confidence of the people of Laval, with recent polls showing that nearly 60 per cent of citizens believe his accusers over him.
"We want an honest response," said Lagarde, waving a copy of a newspaper with Vaillancourt on the front page.
Vaillancourt's political opponents called for more than just an explanation. Lydia Aboulian, leader of the Mouvement Lavallois, called for Vaillancourt to step down.
"Hopefully with a public inquiry it's going to deter any kind of weird activity, I suppose, that could possibly happen," said Aboulian.
Vaillancourt denies allegations
In an exclusive interview with CBC's French-language service, Ménard revealed Vaillancourt tried to offer him $10,000 in cash during a provincial byelection campaign in the Laval region in 1993.
Auclair shared a similar tale, claiming that in 2002 Vaillancourt tried to give him a white envelope, which he refused.
Vaillancourt continues to deny the allegations against him.
His lawyer has sent a letter to Ménard and Auclair, asking them to retract their allegations or face a civil lawsuit.