Industry whistleblowers have revealed that a small number of construction companies are colluding to artificially keep prices high on major municipal infrastructure projects in the greater Montreal region. Taxpayers may be paying up to 35 per cent too much, according to a report by Radio Canada. François Beaudry, a former consultant with Quebec’s deputy minister of transport, says the firms are controlled by the mafia and use a fictitious golf game to rig the bids.
For example, an anonymous contractor says the organizer of the “game” would tell the other companies that nine players would be leaving from the fourth hole at 11 o’clock. In this case, the “fourth hole” represents $4 million and “nine players” indicates $900,000, meaning the winning bid would be $4.9 million. “Competing” companies would therefore have to bid above that. “I’m not surprised [by the report]” said Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay. “Everyone is focusing on Montreal, but it is a problem across the province of Quebec.”