The corruption commission headed by Justice France Charbonneau was instituted in 2011 to examine the extent of corruption in the province’s construction industry and that industry’s ties with organized crime and provincial and local governments.
Evidence was presented which showed substantial and longstanding infiltration by organized crime into the construction industry as well as the collusive and corrupt involvement of provincial and local government officials in awarding public contracts.
The most colorful and possibly most damaging testimony came from construction magnate Tony Accurso. “His testimony provided an intimate window into the cosy [sic] relationship between Quebec political figures and businessmen who rely on public contracts for their livelihoods,” according to the story headlined Donations to Quebec Liberals the cost of doing business, Accurso tells corruption probe in the September 5, 2014,online news medium OurWindsor.ca. The article’s subheadline reads “Charbonneau commission hears about illegal political donations from construction boss at heart of Quebec’s corruption scandal.”
Organized crime’s infiltration into Quebec’s construction industry was fleshed out a bit in the September 17, 2014, Daily Commercial News story headlined High profile Quebec corruption inquiry hears from last witness. Lest we think organized crime would not be interested in infiltrating the very lucrative construction industry in the United States, the article reported that one of the Charbonneau Commission’s witnesses was former US FBI Special Agent Joseph Pistone whose testimony “… served as a primer on the Mafia’s long-standing infiltration of the construction industry.” And then there was this article from the OurWindsor.ca article dated September 3, 2014. The article’s headline, Montreal mafia boss was a contact, construction magnate tells corruption probe, says it all.
The Charbonneau Commission is expected to issue its final report in April 2015.
Of course, the corruption of public officials to induce them to provide lucrative public contracts only happens in the Canadian Province of Quebec. It could never happen in the State of Idaho. It’s not as if multimillion dollar construction contracts are awarded by Idaho’s state and local governments. And it’s not as if Idaho’s judges, prosecutors, county commissioners, sheriffs, mayors, and city councils would ever accept campaign finance contributions or other remuneration to use their discretion and influence to make sure that corruption investigations never get off the ground or to steer construction contracts toward “generous” contributors. No, that could never happen here in Idaho or Kootenai County or Coeur d’Alene …