Mayor Tremblay needs to take a hint

Graphic by Jennifer Kwan.
Graphic by Jennifer Kwan.

A famous American author by the name G. Edward Griffin once said that “to oppose corruption in government is the highest obligation of patriotism.”

He was right. Why live in a society run by a corrupt leader? Why live in a society which wastes people’s money in hopes of being re-elected? Why put up with the antics of a leader such as Gerald Tremblay?

Mr. Tremblay, Montrealers have had enough. In the past few weeks, a chorus of people have put their voices together, screaming out corruption in City Hall and in the good old construction business. This came after allegations brought forth at the Charbonneau Commission when an expert witness showed and alluded to corruption “so deep, so systemic, that kickbacks to the Montreal mayor’s political party and payments to the Italian Mafia were handled by the same person,” wrote the Huffington Post.

The Charbonneau Commission was created by the Charest government in 2011. Its goal is to bring forth allegations of corruption in Quebec’s construction industry all while protecting witnesses and victims alike. It was set to run a two-year mandate and is being chaired by Judge France Charbonneau.

The expert witness was Lino Zambito, former construction boss, who further testified that the cost of construction was driven up by corruption and that for every contract, three per cent of it went to the mayor’s political party, Union Montreal. He continued, giving amazing details about how contracts were handled, and naming everyone who got a share of the cut. Major mafia strongholds in Montreal were mentioned more than once, such as Rizzuto, Accurso, and Nicolo Miloto.

“People knew about it at the city. The business people knew about it. The suppliers knew it… [It was] business as usual… There was wilful blindness. It was accepted,” said Zambito.

These recent allegations made by Zambito have turned many people against the Tremblay government. The most prominent name was Yves Francoeur, president of the Montreal Police Brotherhood. He said that recent allegations have “tainted” his view of the Tremblay administration and has publicly asked the provincial government to come in and strip Tremblay of his power.

“It’s unbelievable in the circumstances that we always have to go to the Tremblay administration to have them approve our orientation, our budget, our priorities because all the corruption allegations that we heard lately are very severe,” he said.

Whether or not Tremblay is actually corrupt remains to be seen by the authenticity of Zambino’s testimony. Although he may not be accused of corruption yet, he’s definitely being accused of making major mistakes as mayor of Montreal.

Suzanne Decarie, city councillor for the Pointe-aux-Trembles district for Vision Montreal, said publicly that his behaviour is unacceptable.

“One cannot let himself be so naive as mayor of Montreal,” said Decarie. “Whether it was voluntary or involuntary, Mr. Tremblay was blind and laid his trust in too many people.”

There’s a serious problem in Montreal. The Charbonneau Commission is a step in the right direction, but it’s only the beginning. When substantial evidence is shown against the mayor of a city you’re trying to clean up, the mayor in question has no choice but to step down.

But not here. Not for Tremblay. Tremblay is so used to having it his own way that the recent allegations have him smiling and even considering running for another term.

“I will not comment on the everyday happenings of the Charbonneau commission,” said Tremblay in a press conference after Zambito’s testimony. “As far as the funding of our political party, Union Montreal, [Quebec’s chief electoral officer] verified on a regular basis our financial statements and found no wrongdoing.”

Corruption will always have a place in politics, whether we like it or not. However, when the majority of people know the details of just how the government is going about its dirty dealings, changes need to be made. A Leger Marketing survey for QMI Agency conducted over the internet on October 3, suggests that 62 per cent of Montrealers want the mayor to step down. According to the survey, 67 per cent believe corruption is built into Montreal’s political system.

My message to Montrealers: wake up! In any other city, a politician accused of this much corruption would’ve been long gone. We know what’s happening, and we can’t sit and watch while our city crumbles.


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