New Montreal Mayor Calls For Measures Against Corruption

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New Montreal mayor Michael Applebaum said he wants to see Bill 1, the law targeting the awarding of public works contracts, expanded and put into practice as soon as possible. (QMI)
New Montreal mayor Michael Applebaum said he wants to see Bill 1, the law targeting the awarding of public works contracts, expanded and put into practice as soon as possible. (QMI)

Montreal's new mayor, Michael Applebaum, and the Parti Québécois government say they share a vision to fight corruption and collusion in municipal affairs.

Applebaum said he wants to see Bill 1, the law targeting the awarding of public works contracts, expanded and put into practice as soon as possible.

The proposed law would put the onus on companies to prove their good standing with the government before being awarded public contracts.

At a news conference on Tuesday, the PQ Minister responsible for the City of Montreal, Jean-François Lisée, said he thinks the province will be able to work with Applebaum.

"The new mayor asks that we participate in the creation of a working committee that will analyze situations and give recommendations [to fight against collusion and corruption,]" said Lisée. "We will work on this idea."

While being sworn in Monday morning, Applebaum said Bill 1 was not sufficient because it applies solely to contracts of more than $50 million – something rare in Montreal.

He asked the Quebec government to investigate the top 100 companies that do business with the city, in order to ensure they comply with the law.

Lisée said the arguments were "convincing." He also said he understood Applebaum's request that no special auditor be assigned to the city – something that was done in Laval.

Last week, Richard Deschamps of Union Montréal, said he would be demanding that the provincial government send an auditor to the city to keep tabs on wrongdoings.

The right man for the job, PQ says

Lisée said Applebaum has all of the prerequisites he, Quebec Premier Pauline Marois and Municipal Affairs Minister Sylvain Gaudreault had discussed in a private meeting.

According to him, the province hoped there would be a competition for the mayor's seat and that the person elected would want to sit as an independent. He added the government wanted that his mandate be limited to the 2013 election.

Lisée also said the provincial government wants the mayor to open the door to members of the opposition parties in the executive committee.

"Each of these wishes came true," said Lisée.

Applebaum said he would try to come to an agreement with municipal parties that are vying for seats in the city's reformed executive committee.

Union Montréal's Richard Deschamps said his party remains a majority at city hall and should be entitled to five of the 11 seats on the committee despite losing a slew of members last week.

Applebaum said he would meet with Deschamps Monday evening and that he hopes the two will come to an agreement about the parties' representation in the executive committee.

Both Vision Montréal leader Louise Harel and Deschamps have expressed desire to see one of their own members sit as chair of the executive while Applebaum said last week he wanted to see an independent councillor take the spot.

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