Mascouche mayor jeered at council meeting
Residents angered over influence-peddling accusations
The mayor of Mascouche, Que., was subjected to two hours of booing and calls to resign when he returned to city council Monday night after more than a two-month absence.
Richard Marcotte temporarily left his duties in the suburban city north of Montreal last November following a Radio-Canada investigation that revealed close ties between the mayor and certain construction contractors, particularly Normand Trudel, who operates Transport et Excavation Mascouche.
Trudel even joined the mayor and his new bride on their honeymoon three years ago.
Radio-Canada found that, between 2000 and 2009, Trudel's company got about $40 million worth of municipal contracts.
Among the contracts was a deal to clear snow from fire hydrants at $650 per hydrant, while other cities pay companies $15 per hydrant for the same work.
Marcotte has replied that the contract includes other responsibilities, and that not all cities operate the same way. Marcotte said that, after three months of legal inquiries, there is nothing to prove there were any irregularities in the way he handled municipal contracts.
Investigators for Quebec's Chief Electoral Officer Marcel Blanchet looked into the allegations about the relationship between the contractor and the mayor, but did not take any action.
However, about 400 residents turned out Monday to demand Marcotte's resignation.
Cheers erupted as, one by one, councillors stood up and walked off the stage, leaving the mayor alone to face the anger of the crowd.
"You say you have done nothing wrong. So why don't you resign, call an election, and we'll see if you get re-elected," said one woman in French.
Marcotte said he will remain in office until the end of his term, in about three years.