By Joel Ceausu
Laval’s top cop for the last 15 years dismissed suggestions he turned a blind eye to events in Laval, saying any complaints he received were only recent, and he was obliged to defer to UPAC to avoid jeopardizing their investigation. Jean-Pierre Gariépy spent the weekend explaining that any information he did discover was turned over to the Marteau squad and UPAC, which required complete confidentiality on his part. He also denied any knowledge of the scheme to inflate public contracts, but suggested that UPAC was the one outfit with enough resources and legitimacy to investigate and uncover what investigators are calling an organized criminal enterprise.
Laval’s police chief is not shying away from commenting on the arrest of former Mayor Gilles Vaillancourt and 36 other individuals last Thursday however. Gariépy told French media that if the accused are convicted they should face imprisonment. “If we want justice to be done in this case, it is likely that it will end with jail time,” Gariépy stated.
Gariépy told Radio-Canada that the police force and the city administration kept an arm’s length relationship for years, mostly at Vaillancourt’s behest.
“Only now do we see why,” he declared, adding that police forces need new independence, as they are too often resource-dependent on municipal administrations that control their fate that they may have to investigate. He concluded by saying much of what is alleged to have occurred did so because of a culture of secrecy and silence, pointing to former PQ MNA Serge Ménard’s 17-year silence about an alleged attempt by Vaillancourt to bribe him 20 years ago.
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