Credits: ÉTIENNE LABERGE/24 HEURES/QMI AGENCY
MONTREAL — Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay said he's taking "a few days' rest" as a new poll indicates most citizens want him to quit amid a slew of corruption scandals.
Tremblay, who faces allegations he knew dirty cash was being pumped into his Union Montreal party, told QMI Agency he would take time off, but provided no further details.
Jean-François Lisee, provincial minister responsible for Montreal, said the government has asked Tremblay to ponder his future in the wake of damaging allegations at the Charbonneau Commission.
"For several days (we) have asked for the mayor of Montreal to consider his future and that's what he's doing," said Lisee. "We'll give him his space."
Tremblay has repeatedly refused calls to step down amid allegations that hundreds of thousands of dollars in under-the-table financing helped keep his party in power as far back as 2004.
His right-hand man, former executive committee chairman Frank Zampino, was arrested earlier this year and currently faces charges in an alleged real-estate scam.
An ongoing public inquiry has heard that Zampino received $300,000 in bribes, and that Tremblay was present at a 2004 meeting where two party officials discussed illicit campaign financing.
As pressure mounted on the mayor, he cancelled two events scheduled for this week, including a speech at the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal.
Sources said ticket sales for the business luncheon were slow and the mayor was concerned his speech wouldn't be well received.
A Leger Marketing poll conducted on behalf of QMI Agency suggests just one in 10 Montrealers think Tremblay should remain in his post.
Gilles Vaillancourt, mayor of the sprawling Montreal suburb of Laval, also stepped down amid allegations of rigged bidding, kickbacks and favouritism.
Vaillancourt — who claims he is taking a medical leave — stepped aside after police raided his home over allegations that millions of dollars were funneled from Laval to overseas bank accounts.