Secret code shows time is money at the Charbonneau
The Charbonneau Commission got back to work this morning after a summer-long break. First up among the witnesses was an engineer who explained how collusion worked in Gatineau.
Engineering company executive Marc-Andre Gelinas, with the AECOM firm, formerly-known as "Tecsult", explained how four engineering firms, inspired by how collusion was conducted in Laval, set up a system by which they shared public contracts in Gatineau.
The system involved rigged contract bids, with the lowest "fake" bid winning a given contract.
In the first bizarre moment of the commission's fall session, Gelinas explained how he devised a secret code used by collusion participants to discuss rigged contract bids over the phone.
The code used hours, minutes and calendar dates that corresponded to dollar figures.
For example, the amount of thirty-thousand dollars was equivalent to "noon", on the thirteenth of the month.
"Time" indeed was "money".
Earlier in the morning, Charbonneau Commisison lead counsel Sonia Lebel set the table for the coming weeks of hearings.
A major focus for the fall session will involve labour unions active in the construction industry.
Lebel says that given how the construction industry is vital to the Quebec economy and how labour unions play a major role in that industry, it is of capital importance to determine if those unions have been infiltrated or are otherwise influenced by organized crime.