Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay. (EMMANUEL DELACOUR/QMI Agency)
MONTREAL - Nearly two in three Montrealers believe Mayor Gerald Tremblay should quit amid allegations his party received kickbacks from Mafia-linked contractors, according to a new poll.
A Leger Marketing survey for QMI Agency suggests that 62% of Montrealers want the mayor to step down after 11 years in office.
An even higher proportion - 67% - believe corruption is built into Montreal's political system.
Former excavation contractor Lino Zambito blew the lid off of a wide-ranging collusion scheme that he says drove up the cost of public projects to the detriment of taxpayers while fattening the pockets of businessmen, bureaucrats and the Mafia.
He told a public inquiry the Mafia got a 2.5% share of construction contracts while Mayor Tremblay's Union Montreal Party got 3% and now-retired city engineer Gilles Surprenant skimmed 1%, earning him the nickname "GST".
Both opposition leaders at City Hall say Tremblay should quit immediately, but he replied that his "conscience is clear" and that his party broke no rules.
Political scientist and professor Jean-Marc Pilotte says the mayor is in an untenable position.
"Yes, Tremblay should resign," he told QMI Agency. "But he will hang on and continue to do what he has done from the beginning - to deny there's a problem."
Tremblay has maintained his innocence through four years of police investigations, scathing media reports and arrests of key members of his inner circle.
The Oct. 3 Leger poll of 619 Montrealers has an error margin of 3.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.