The country’s second-largest city is now waiting for Michael Applebaum’s next move.
The embattled Montreal mayor is expected to speak to the media some time Tuesday or Wednesday following his arrest by UPAC, Quebec’s anti-corruption squad on Monday.
Mr. Applebaum faces 14 criminal counts of fraud, corruption and bribery.
Quickly, other municipal politicians and Quebec Premier Pauline Marois have urged Mr. Applebaum to resign.
Should Mr. Applebaum not immediately heed the calls, what happened in Mascouche, a small town just north of Montreal, could be instructive.
In April, UPAC charged the mayor of Mascouche, Richard Marcotte, and 13 others over allegations of kickbacks and fraud in public contracts.
Mr. Marcotte, who had long been dogged by allegations of wrongdoings, did not step down, and tried to ride out the storm.
For several months, Mascouche city hall operated in a circus-like atmosphere, with extra police presence because of protesters waiting for Mr. Marcotte at council meetings. The mayor only showed up the minimal number of times required for him to keep his job, to be greeted with boos from residents.
Eventually, by the fall, the province's Municipal Affairs Minister, Sylvain Gaudreault, tabled Bill 10, which became known as the "Marcotte Law."
The legislation would allow a Quebec Superior Court judge to suspend municipal politicians charged with offences that could lead to sentences of two years or more.
Within two weeks, Mr, Marcotte quit, citing health problems in his family. He complained that "Bill 10 is clearly a politically motivated law and, from what I understand, it is constitutionally dodgy since it is only aimed at one type of elected official."
In Montreal, Mr. Applebaum has been charged in connection with two real-estate projects in his borough which had escaped scrutiny until now, the Notre-Dame-de-Grâce Sports Centre and the Onyx condo project. UPAC Commissioner Robert Lafrenière says the investigation is still on-going.
Mr. Applebaum 's predecessor, Gérald Tremblay, stepped down last fall following testimony that his political party received illegal donations from construction firms, even though Mr. Tremblay is not facing any charges.
The removal procedure under Bill 10 is not automatic and would have to be initiated by a complaint from a citizen or a member of city council.
Mr. Applebaum now has to announce whether he will fight it out for a job that will be up for renewal, in any case, within months. Municipal elections are set for Nov. 3.Report Typo/Error