From The Gazette

Lachine

Lachine councillor Blanchet unaware of anti-corruption squad probe

Lachine borough councillor Bernard Blanchet says he’s not aware of an investigation targeting him or a member of his borough’s urban-planning committee.

“I’ve received no call,” the Union Montreal councillor said on Monday in response to an opposition borough councillor’s declaration last week that Quebec’s anti-corruption squad is investigating allegations of links between a member of the Lachine urban-planning committee and various real-estate developers.

“I have no idea about the investigation,” Blanchet said. “It’s the first time I’ve heard anyone talk about it.”

Independent borough councillor Jean-François Cloutier, who quit Union Montreal in 2010, said last week he brought his allegations to investigators with the Unité permanente anticorruption, or UPAC, in August, and they opened an investigation about a month ago.

The squad won’t confirm or deny what it investigates.

Cloutier recently quit the urban-planning committee, and detailed his allegations against the member in an open letter to the local weekly newspaper. However, he said he was prevented from identifying the person targeted by his allegations because he received a lawyer’s demand letter threatening to sue him if he names the person.

The person’s identity was narrowed down during the public question period of a borough council meeting last week. Borough mayor Claude Dauphin said the person is one of the two elected borough officials who sit on the urban-planning committee along with representatives of the public.

A citizen then asked the borough council to name the two elected officials.

Dauphin responded by naming himself and Blanchet.

“It’s not me,” Dauphin added.

Blanchet, a councillor since 1993 and Union Montreal’s caucus leader, wouldn’t answer whether he’s the target of the allegations or whether he sent the demand letter to Cloutier.

“Mr. Cloutier is a big boy,” he said. “I’ll let Mr. Cloutier answer that question.”

Blanchet suggested he’s the target of political manoeuvring with a view to the municipal election in November.

“Maybe what we have to identify is not the person,” he said. “Maybe what we have to identify is why we’re here.”

 

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