QUEBEC CITY - The Quebec government did nothing to stop Hydro-Quebec from paying a dozen crane operators to sleep, play cards or just stay home rather than work at a dam-building site.
The wasteful spending that came to light this week at the Quebec corruption inquiry actually emerged in 2009 at a legislature committee.
The public utility paid off the crane workers to calm their concerns about German workers who had been shipped in to the Peribonka dam site north of Quebec City in 2005.
The Quebecers had protested the foreign presence by staging a work slowdown, the inquiry heard this week.
Quebec Federation of Labour executives arrived on site to broker a deal that saw the Quebecers paid not to work while Germans operated the cranes.
The Quebec union members received 100% of their salary and even got bonuses from 2005 to 2007.
Meanwhile, many of them stayed home, slept in trailers or just hung around.
"It was tolerated, and everyone knew it," inquiry investigator Michel Comeau testified.