Trusteeship: Whose decision was it?

By Robert Frank

Did Laval city council jump, or was it pushed?

Laval’s trustees framed their final report with a synopsis of the events that led up to Sylvain Gaudrault’s decision to order the city into trusteeship.

Curiously, there they made no mention of Alexandre Duplessis’ claim that he had asked the Municipal Affairs Minister that the provincial government do so, ostensibly to put an end to a swirl of controversy that had prevented city council from responding to citizens’ day-to-day needs.

The report made just one explicit reference to Duplessis, which it limited to a description of events after the province had issued its trusteeship decree.

“The delegates went to Laval city hall. There, they met Mayor Alexandre Duplessis and members of the city’s executive committee and, afterwards, city council.”

“Our mandate dealt with the control of the day-to-day administration and didn’t entail a review of the past or trying to conduct an inquiry,” trustees Sandra Bilodeau, Sylvie Piérard and Florent Gagné wrote in a letter to Quebec Municipal Commission chairman Denis Marsolais.

Their report nonetheless dwelt upon well-known events that led up to the trusteeship decree.

“A raid on city hall in October 2012, followed by shocking revelations before the Charbonneau commission, bringing to light systematic collusion and corruption, the arrest of 37 people, among them Mayor Vaillancourt and former senior municipal civil servants as well as illegal political financing that many members of the former council participated in.”

The omission was glaring, given Duplessis’ recurrent reminders, repeated by his successor as interim mayor, Martine Beaugrand, that Laval’s trusteeship was voluntary.

“In preparing our report, we have taken into consideration the confidential nature of the discussions and files with which we have been involved,” the trustees told Marsolais.

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