Investigating Quebec's construction industry

After three years of breaking news reports that outlined explosive details about collusion and corruption in Quebec's construction industry, the Charbonneau Commission will begin an inquiry. This is a story of government officials union bosses, company bosses and organized crime. And it began when a 27 year old freelance journalist teamed up with a seasoned investigative reporter at Radio-Canada. Today, Marie-Maude Denis and Alain Gravel take us through the story of the sleuthing and the sources that led to one of the most explosive stories to come out of Quebec in decades.

Part Three of The Current

Investigating Quebec's construction industry

Quebec is beginning a two year probe aimed at investigating corruption and collusion in the construction industry. Judge France Charbonneau and her two commissioners are investigating the ties between the awarding of government contracts and the funding of political parties.

But it's a big problem - as former Montreal police chief Jacques Duchesneau, said: Quebec is "an empire of malfeasance." His report for the anti-corruption unit, U-PAC, helped forced the government to set up the public inquiry. Quebec Premier Jean Charest has granted the probe full powers to conduct its investigation.

The first calls for a public inquiry were in early 2009. That's when our colleagues at Radio-Canada's Enquète broadcast their first story about a construction union leader, his expense accounts, and his possible connections to organized crime.

The government has since set up a permanent anti-corruption squad, a special police task force, and also introduced a new law that would change the way the construction business operates. We were joined by the two journalists whose work exposed so much of this. Alain Gravel is the host of Enquète. And Marie-Maude Denis is on the show's investigative team. They've been working on these stories since 2008. They were in Montreal.

The Charbonneau Commission begins work today.

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