November 4, 2012
Scandal-plagued Laval, Que., mayor to resign
By QMI Agency
MONTREAL - The embattled mayor of Quebec's third-largest city, who faces corruption allegations, will announce his resignation Tuesday or Wednesday, QMI Agency has learned.
Laval Mayor Gilles Vaillancourt took a temporary leave at the end of October citing health reasons after anti-corruption agents conducted raids at his homes and financial institutions.
Sources told QMI Agency that the mayor decided to resign in order to focus on defending his reputation.
Quebec's permanent anti-corruption unit raided Laval city hall and the mayor's two residences in October. Agents also raided safety deposit boxes at four financial institutions in the Laval area in order to determine if Vaillancourt received bribes linked to contracts awarded by the city, as is alleged by Quebec's construction inquiry.
Vaillancourt has consistently denied the accusations against him and has not been formally charged with any crime.
He has been the mayor of Laval since 1989 and won four consecutive elections.
The city of Laval is part of Montreal's metropolitan area, however, it has its own mayor and council. Its population, at more than 400,000 people, has grown rapidly in the past few years, surpassing the Canadian average.
Quebec law stipulates that due to the fact that a municipal election is scheduled within a year's time, the mayor's replacement will be decided by the city council and not through an official election.
Vaillancourt isn't the only mayor dogged by corruption allegations.
Provincial ministers recently suggested Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay might want to think about quitting in the wake of damaging statements at the Charbonneau Commission, which is looking into corruption in the construction industry.
Tremblay was present at a meeting during which two other officials discussed illicit campaign financing, his former organizer recently told the construction inquiry.
Tremblay announced at the beginning of November that he was taking "a few days' rest" as a new poll indicated most citizens wanted him to quit amid the corruption scandals.
Quebec Premier Pauline Marois has promised to tighten laws controlling the awarding of public contracts.