Assessment of the Inspector General of Montreal | Attempts at intimidation that didn’t work

Angered at being put in the way, delinquent entrepreneurs have attempted various intimidation tactics against Inspector General Brigitte Bishop in recent years. A private detective was even hired to delve into his personal life in hopes of getting him to let go. Without success.

This is what the main interested party says in an interview with The Presswhile she has just submitted her last annual report and is preparing to leave her place to her successor, after nearly six years at the head of the Office of the Inspector General of the City of Montreal (BIG).

“They tried to intimidate me,” she admits, almost reluctantly, when questioned.

“I have had SLAPP suits, formal notices, threats to seize my property. We even hired someone to collect personal information about me to try to tarnish my reputation,” says M.e Bishop. The maneuver followed one of his public reports.

We knew between the branches that the goal was to see if I could be blamed for something. At OIG, I have immunity by law. But what we were trying to do was to say that I was outside the mandate, that I had oblique motives, personal motives, to succeed in pursuing me personally.

Brigitte Bishop, general inspector of Montreal

She assures that the affair did not prevent her from continuing her work. “They were trying to stop me from having guts. On the contrary, it motivated me even more! »

The Hells Angels and their sympathizers

It was in 2018, after a career as a prosecutor specializing in the fight against organized crime, that Ms.e Brigitte Bishop took over as head of the OIG, the organization responsible for monitoring the awarding and execution of municipal contracts, banning delinquent contractors and making recommendations to improve processes.

When her investigators began to show her the files they were working on at the OIG, she quickly recognized names she had encountered in her former career, in the context of prosecutions against the Hells Angels.

In certain files, I can say that there are names that are very familiar to me. We still see bikers and their supporters. The Italian mafia, much less than before on the other hand.

Brigitte Bishop, general inspector of Montreal

When she arrived on the job, she was surprised to see how unselfconsciously some of the actors still acted. The Charbonneau commission had exposed to the public a number of collusion and corruption schemes, police investigations had led many actors to prison, then the first inspector general of Montreal, Denis Gallant, had in turn given a sweep to starting with the creation of the BIG in 2014. But some never seemed to learn.

“What surprised me was how blatant it still was,” she recalls.

“Contract offenders, as we make reports, they adapt. Over time, they began to become more sophisticated. But we see the relevance of the BIG: there are still attempts at collusion, still people who will try to buy people by offering them sums of money, still product placement, still a normative framework which is sometimes misunderstood,” she says.

A “very effective” power

During the mandate of Mr.e Bishop, the OIG released reports on a contractor who illegally dumped sewage sludge on farms, on malfeasance in the recycling industry, on a delinquent snow plow who continued to operate in the city thanks to a nominee and on the difficulties linked to the management of excavated soils in urban areas.

Sometimes, proving a criminal or penal offense would have been long and difficult to do in court, but the inclusion of the offender on the blacklist of Montreal public contracts and the publication of his name in a public report makes it possible to put an end to to problematic behaviors.

“It’s a way of acting differently. The Criminal Code and civil proceedings, I respect that, I’m a lawyer. But with the normative framework, we have a very different and very effective power too,” explains Brigitte Bishop.

Entrepreneurs still believe today that the powers of the OIG are too broad, that its reports impose unfair consequences on the companies concerned and that it is too difficult to challenge them. They have launched several legal challenges, without success so far. At least one of these cases must be heard on appeal this year.

The name of his successor (Me François Lanthier) was not yet public at the time of the interview and Me Bishop refused to speculate about her identity, but she did offer some advice for whoever takes her position.

“You have to have guts, not be afraid to charge forward, denounce and move forward,” she believes.

Who is Brigitte Bishop?

  • Former Crown prosecutor assigned to the fight against organized crime.
  • Holder of a second cycle diploma in the fight against financial crime.
  • As a prosecutor, she had several bunkers confiscated from criminal bikers, as well as residences, vehicles, jewelry and luxury items.
  • She worked as an advisor to the Sûreté du Québec before moving to the BIG.

source site-61