Quebec anti-corruption head to appear at provincial committee
The author of a leaked report that claims corruption and collusion are widespread in the Quebec construction industry will testify next week before a National Assembly committee.
Jacques Duchesneau, the head of the province's anti-corruption squad, has been summoned to appear before the assembly's public administration committee on Tuesday.
Duchesneau is likely to face up to six hours of questioning by members of the National Assembly over his report, which details systemic irregularities in Quebec's Transport Ministry and construction sector. The report, released by Radio-Canada last week, documents a system massively infiltrated by organized crime elements linked to construction companies.
Premier Jean Charest said Duchesneau's appearance next week is thanks to his government's efforts to beat corruption.
Economic Development Minister and former Transport Minister Sam Hamad said he doesn't have any expectations about the appearance.
"I don't have any hopes," said Hamad. "I hope he is going to say everything he knows regarding construction and collusion."
But opposition parties have called for a full-scale inquiry into the construction industry and are anxious to hear from Duchesneau.
Committee chair and Parti Quebecois MNA Sylvain Simard said the government has downplayed the issues in the construction industry.
"It cannot continue to downplay the extent of the problem," said Simard. "Not after this report, which is very extensive and very complete."
Action Démocratique MNA, François Bonnardel, said he hopes to get new information from Duchesneau when he appears.
"We will, hopefully have more answers concerning that," said Bonnardel. "We have a big, big, big lack of confidence in this government following this report. So, it's important to hear what more Mr. Duchesneau has to say to us."
The province's anti-corruption squad was created in February 2011 with a mandate of investigating and prosecuting cases of corruption, influence peddling and embezzlement in the province.