Quebec premier: Laval trusteeship is 'terrible, disheartening, sad'

MONTREAL – Quebec’s premier has called it a “terrible and disheartening and sad” situation in the province’s third-largest municipality.

Pauline Marois has commented on her government’s decision to place scandal-plagued Laval under trusteeship.

The decision was made official at a cabinet meeting today.

Laval’s former mayor is accused of running the city like a criminal racket and now faces gangsterism charges.

Now, the new interim mayor is alleged to have also taken part in illegal party financing. He has denied the allegation, levelled last week in testimony at the Charbonneau inquiry.

But this latest scandal to hit the city was enough for the government to impose trusteeship. That means the provincial government will get final say over municipal decisions.

At the moment, three municipalities are under trusteeship in the province but none is nearly as big as Laval, the sprawling suburb across the river north of Montreal.

In fact, it was the interim mayor who requested trusteeship. However, Alexandre Duplessis only made that request after the provincial government had publicly raised it as a possible solution.

“It’s pretty terrible and disheartening and sad,” Marois said when asked about the situation Monday.

“But at the same time I believe it was a sound decision from the current mayor… who’s seeking the government’s help.”

Trusteeship will mean:

—The province’s municipal commission exercises supervisory powers over local decisions.

—No decision of the municipal council will enter into force until the commission approves the minutes of the meeting at which it was taken.

—The municipal budget will require the approval of the commission to enter into force.