Quebec launches new anti-corruption body

By Chris Sleight21 February 2011

The Canadian province of Quebec has allocated CA$ 30 million (US$ 30 million) per year to a new anti-corruption body, following a series of scandals involving the construction industry over the last two years. The new body, headed by a Commissioner, will work alongside existing governmental monitoring groups for the construction industry - Commission de la construction du Québec and Régie du bâtiment du Québec.

The Commission will focus on a number of areas, including price collusion, embezzlement and checks on licences and applications. It will also have a dedicated audit team as well as a team of attorneys focused on corruption issues.

Minister of public security, Robert Dutil said, "In creating the permanent anti-corruption unit, we send a clear message that corrupt practices, collusion and misconduct are unacceptable and not tolerated in Quebec. What we are announcing today will give us the appropriate means to fight against such practices and thereby enable people and businesses of honest work in a lawful and fair competition."

Quebec's construction corruption scandal exploded in late 2009, when the province's police force started L'Opération Marteau (Operation Hammer), an investigation into ties between organised criminal gangs and the construction industry and price collusion between contractors. As the investigation progressed, it uncovered links between corrupt politicians, contractors, unions and organised crime.

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