Investigations and wiretaps by the RCMP have proven the existence of direct links between the Mafia and construction firms throughout Quebec, according to the Charbonneau Commission. Many Quebecers are shell-shocked after months of apparently well-founded allegations of infiltration of public-works contracts by organized crime, and the clock ticks on with no arrests.
This corruption is so insidious that the former Montreal police chief, Jacques Duchesneau, who was the lead investigator into allegations of corruption, was fired recently — his contract cancelled.
The RCMP’s blanket refusal to turn over evidence linking Montreal’s construction industry to Nicolo Rizzuto, godfather of organized crime in Montreal until his assassination in November 2010, has forced the Charbonneau Commission to confront the RCMP in Quebec Superior Court. At the recent hearing, the RCMP’s legal team argued that the Commission doesn't have jurisdiction over the federally regulated police force.
But Commission lawyer Sylvain Lussier argued the RCMP can't make a blanket refusal to turn over all files and must make a specific claim, for example that the evidence would endanger national security. The next court date is scheduled for April 19, 2012.This powerful police force did in fact make a national security claim back in August 1994 following the murder of young Mindy Tran. In a highly unusual move during the investigation and trial of murder suspect Shannon Murrin, national security had even been cited as the reason for withholding details of the RCMP investigation from the jury. The official investigation revealed an unprecedented level of obstruction occurring at every juncture. If the RCMP had conspired to deliberately "throw" this case, this is how it was accomplished.
What went wrong? The RCMP presented a completely flawed timeline of events to Crown prosecutors and then to the jury. It was obvious that the evidence would not fit. The Crown could not prove its case when the physical evidence, and eyewitness accounts contradicted the very theory that this case was built upon.
A CBC producer was provided information disclosing that Shannon Murrin was an RCMP informant and that Sgt. Tidsbury, the lead investigator, was actually his "handler". Despite the producer's keen interest in this story, her ensuing request to investigate this connection was stopped by her superiors. She left the CBC shortly afterwards. Sgt. Tidsbury has hardly spoken to the press since then.
At that time, the Honorable Stockwell Day, Canada's former Minister of Public Safety, was the only politician with the power to justify a cover-up of this magnitude. Stockwell Day was in charge of the RCMP.
Is the present political arena in Montreal’s corrupt construction industry entwined with similar tug-of-war scenarios?
Former RCMP Commissioner Zaccardelli once stated that criminal groups are focusing on Parliament, the courts and other institutions with the aim of "destabilizing" the political system. “While we would all agree that mistakes in business practice, questionable or unethical behavior, a lack of self-regulation or the failure of regulatory bodies to properly monitor, are all of serious concerns, by far the most frightening specter we face is that of corruption.”
The City of Montreal is now haunted by poor design choices and substandard construction, the effects of which are beginning to endanger lives as infrastructure crumbles to dust.
Quebec authorities have had to shut down parts of two key bridges — the Mercier and the Champlain — to complete emergency repairs, as well as undertake emergency repairs on the city’s massive Turcot interchange after cracks were discovered on a ramp and steel reinforcements were found to have been improperly installed when the Turcot was built in the 1960s.
In October 2006, David Love published an Examiner article concerning the lack of work near Côte-de-Liesse and Hwy 13 South and a nearby employee’s fear of walking this route in the dark after work. This site has seen little work or repair to date. In fact, the only work completed was the replacement of three of the four lights on the underpass walkway.
Chunks and pieces of the highway and other supporting structures are missing, which raises concern for the heavy traffic flow below. The cracks paint a picture of invisible dangers of disintegration. As each year passes, the Montreal and other Quebec area highway system endangers the vulnerable public and heads closer to another collapse.
A pedestrian overpass allowing employees to cross the highway has been blocked with a shabby barricade that pedestrians simply climb over. The overpass has been limited to single-lane traffic only, due to fears of structural collapse in case of overloading. (See photos and video.)
A pedestrian overpass on the other side of Côte-de-Liesse and Hwy 13 South shows a clear and present danger to those who venture to cross: crumbling concrete pillars, exposed rusty steel rebars, and dangerous, low-hanging hydro wires only a few inches above pedestrians who must walk under them to cross the highway.
A recent interview with an employee from Traffic Tech near the pedestrian overpass confirmed the dangers to public safety. “Incredible neglect” was cited.
As the writer interviewed others, it was apparent that many fear talking about the crumbling infrastructure or about government corruption involving organized crime and kickbacks.
The October 2006 collapse of a highway overpass in Laval, which crushed five people to death, is a reminder to many that it is not a matter of "if," but of "when" the next horrific collapse will occur.
In July 2011, a large chunk of concrete fell from the ceiling of the Viger Tunnel, closing the Ville-Marie Expressway completely to traffic in both directions between de la Montagne and Panet.
These infrastructure collapses are but a mere sample of the public safety risks and concerns as citizens wait in fear for the next ten years until 2022, when some of the construction is scheduled to be complete.
In our civilized world, we don't encounter genuine threats to our physical safety every day. The physiological arousal we experience as anxiety is directly related to fear of harm. Stress is a normal physical response to events that make you feel threatened or that upset your balance in some way.
Simply stated: the citizens of Quebec feel they are in harm’s way when driving or walking through these dilapidated and dangerous corridors and pathways. This, coupled with Mafia construction companies’ infiltration into the political arena, only compounds the public’s fear.