The Quebec government has ordered an inquiry into corruption in the province's construction industry, and has chosen a respected judge and prosecutor to head the proceedings.

Premier Jean Charest has named Quebec Superior Court Justice France Charbonneau to head the long-demanded inquiry.

Her appointment Wednesday earned praise from none other than John Gomery, a former colleague who presided over the famous federal sponsorship inquiry.

"She's an excellent judge," Gomery told The Canadian Press. "That's a very good choice. I have only praise for her."

Reputed as a fearless prosecutor, Charbonneau won a 2002 murder trial against Hells Angels boss Maurice (Mom) Boucher, who is now serving life in prison.

"I'm not afraid of work," Charbonneau said, speaking after the Boucher trial, during which she took off only five days – non-consecutively – in 18 months.

Quick facts about France Charbonneau

  • Born in Montreal.
  • Obtained Bachelor of Law from the University of Montreal in 1977. Admitted to the Quebec Bar in 1978.
  • Served as Crown lawyer from 1979, mainly as a prosecutor.
  • Appointed to Quebec Superior Court in 2004.
  • Taught law at Laval University and Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières.
  • Charbonneau has prosecuted more than 80 murder cases.
  • She successfully prosecuted Hells Angels kingpin Maurice (Mom) Boucher in 2002 in his second trial for the murder of two prison guards.
  • As a judge, Charbonneau oversaw cases including the sensational murder trial in 2005 of Mélanie Alix, who killed her infant son and wheelchair-bound mother. 
With files from The Canadian Press