Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay
THE embattled mayor of Canada's second-largest city suddenly took a few days off after a Quebec corruption inquiry pointed fingers at him and his administration.
Last week, a witness told the Charbonneau Inquiry Tremblay knew about, but ignored, illegal fundraising and campaign spending by his party.
He has denied any wrongdoing, but after days of damning testimony he suddenly cancelled appearances and left the public eye on Thursday.
It's said he will be back at work on Monday, but the leave is somewhat suspicious. If Tremblay stays on as mayor until at least today, the next election will be close enough that a byelection will not be held for the mayor's job. City council, on which Tremblay's party holds a slim majority, can appoint a successor until the next election.
If he quits before today, a byelection is held.
Tremblay isn't even the first Quebec mayor to take time off this week. The mayor of Laval, Que., a Montreal suburb, is taking time away after he was targeted by Quebec's corruption squad for illegal activities.
The Quebec corruption inquiry is almost the stuff movies are made of: tales of safes stuffed so thick with cash they can't close, kick-backs for construction contracts, the mob and politicians up to their necks in it all.
Tremblay's sudden disappearing act has added a new level of intrigue to the growing probe. Will he show up for work on Monday as planned?