The Quebec government "has formed a special squad to investigate the link between the construction industry and organized crime" dubbed Operation Hammer as reported by Paul Karwatsky for CTV Montreal:
The announcement of the news squad comes only hours after police handed in their findings after a two-year investigation into the Mafia's relationship with the construction industry. Reports claim that companies linked to the Italian Mafia have gotten into bed with political affairs and essentially created a construction cartel that works to drive up the cost of building projects by 35 per cent in the Montreal area. The unit, however, would not be Montreal-centric, and investigations would take place throughout the province.
The allegations are serious enough that "Mayor Gérald Tremblay admitted in a report that he feared for his family's safety," and "an opposition politician, who resigned Sunday over payments from murky backers, said a 'Mafia system' controls Montreal city hall" as reported by Ingrid Peritz for The Globe and Mail:
Collusion, bid-rigging, brown envelopes at city hall: The claims are enough to remind Montreal of its old reputation, coined almost a century ago, as "the rottenest city on the continent." Or as one columnist put it Thursday, Palermo. * * * News reports suggest the mob controls most Montreal road-work contracts, and a select group of 14 companies use coded language to fix bids and inflate prices on public-works projects. * * * Veteran observers say organized crime has been adept at making inroads into legitimate circles in cities worldwide. Antonio Nicaso, a Toronto-based author and specialist on the Mafia, says some mobsters have used construction and other industries as a "cover" to gain access to lucrative public-sector contracts. "Bricks, real-estate and construction were always the sectors the Mafia used to invest the proceeds of crime," he said. While the mob operates this way in cities around the world, it has found especially "fertile ground" in Montreal, he said. "In Montreal, the Mafia is well entrenched in society, they don't live on the outside at the margins. The real Mafia dresses in suits and attends meetings in boardrooms," he said.
Benoit Labonte, who last Saturday "stepped down as leader of the opposition at city hall and resigned as lieutenant to Vision Montreal mayoral candidate Louise Harel," said "the Italian mafia controls about 80 per cent of city hall" as reported by CTV Montreal: "'Is there a Mafia system that controls city hall? The response is yes,' said Labonte in the Radio-Canada interview."