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Jean Charest weighs public inquiry into construction corruption

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Quebec Premier Jean Charest says he’s weighing all the options on whether to hold a public inquiry into construction corruption.

A report in La Presse today says the Charest government will announce plans in two weeks for an inquiry that would be held mainly behind closed doors.

Asked about the report by journalists covering his trip to Paris, the premier replies that his government is still studying each option.

Charest has steadfastly resisted calls for an inquiry, saying he prefers criminal investigations into the allegations.

But since the release of an incendiary report by the province’s anti-collusion watchdog, which describes the need for an inquiry as urgent, the premier has said he’ll consider it.

Jacques Duchesneau is proposing a two-phase inquiry: the first part would be held behind closed doors, where witnesses would testify about cases of corruption. The second part, to be held in public, would consider policy changes to avoid future corruption.

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Meanwhile, a report by Radio-Canada today says Duchesneau has asked for – and been granted – a leave of absence.

The ex-Montreal police chief had been at odds with the boss of the anti-corruption squad that oversees his own unit.