Skip to main content
Welcome to
super saver spring
offer ends april 20
save over $140
save over 85%
$0.99
per week for 24 weeks
Welcome to
super saver spring
$0.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

A former Quebec bureaucrat says signs of collusion in government infrastructure contracts became apparent to him after a bid to kick-start the province's economy in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Gilles Roussy told Quebec's corruption inquiry on Tuesday it was early in 2002 when he started to notice an explosion in the cost of provincial contracts.

Mr. Roussy said the provincial government was committed to investing in infrastructure projects to help a stagnant economy and bumped the Transport Department's budget to $1.39-billion from $820-million.

Story continues below advertisement

He testified that before September, 2001, the difference between the department's estimates and the contractors' submissions was negligible.

But by the spring of 2002, company bids were coming in significantly higher – 25, 30 and sometimes 35 per cent higher than department estimates.

Mr. Roussy said that played havoc with the department's own cost estimates, which were established using historical bid data.

The former bureaucrat said he tried to fight the trend but the department didn't have the necessary tools or funding to investigate collusion.

Mr. Roussy said the budget for investigations – including salaries – amounted to $500,000. As a result, many files were transferred to the Competition Bureau of Canada, but Mr. Roussy said the results were not what he expected.

"We had cases where the accused were sentenced to relatively low fines, well below the amounts from which they'd benefited," Mr. Roussy said. "The department had to take action in civil court to recover the amounts."

On Monday, witness François Beaudry, a whistle-blower colleague of Mr. Roussy, said he'd been told by an informant about a widespread system of collusion in 2002. The tip was passed along to various levels of the civil service and even to politicians in the Transport Department, without any results.

Story continues below advertisement

Mr. Roussy confirmed what other former government employees have also said – that little was done at any level to change the status quo.

Mr. Beaudry testified that even provincial police were made aware, but Mr. Roussy said he warned his colleague to not put too much stock in authorities.

"I told [Mr. Beaudry] 'don't count too much on it, it won't work,' " Mr. Roussy said.

That case was also ultimately transferred to the Competition Bureau.

Mr. Roussy later went to the media himself when he wasn't satisfied with the police response.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies