Montreal’s Former Mayor Says ‘It’s Obvious’ Contracts Were Fixed

Former mayor of Montreal, Gérald Tremblay, acknowledged that he was aware that his city officials, and other politicians, were accepting bottles of wine and high-priced hockey tickets, though he seemed resilient in acknowledging that this deed was associated to the bid-rigging of public works contracts. Tremblay, who held the office of Montreal’s mayor from 2002 until his resignation in last November, was recording his testimony at Quebec’s corruption inquiry on the second day.

Tremblay did, however, confess that bottles of wine were received at his office, though he alleged that they were passed on to charity while he stated that I didn’t have the patience for golf, so no one ever invited him to play a round. Nevertheless that self-control was not always a practice of others in his administration. Tremblay admitted that politicians were not restricted of accepting invitations to hockey games or concerts, whereas the actions of civil servants were protected by the city’s ethics code. Tremblay admitted he was aware of gift-giving, but he had no idea to what extent.

When inquired directly regarding evidence provided about construction contractors “taking turns” at being awarded contracts, Tremblay denied to admit that. He was asked by a commission prosecutor, Sonia LeBel, that “you still think that it’s impossible to influence a contract? At the time — and still today” Tremblay explained that “It’s possible,” “its possible influential businesspeople tried to influence Frank Zampino (Tremblay’s former right-hand man). But it didn’t happen.” The commission chairwoman, France Charbonneau, stated in disbelief “you’re not serious,” explaining that “with all the testimony you’ve heard before the commission, you believe everything everyone has said is a lie?”

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