Archive | 50 years ago, the CECO exposed the activities of organized crime in Quebec

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Archives | 50 years ago, the CECO exposed the activities of organized crime in Quebec

In 1972, the CECO uncovered several scandals related to the mafia and organized crime such as that of spoiled meat.

On September 27, 1972, the Commission of Inquiry on Organized Crime (CECO) was created by the government of Prime Minister Robert Bourassa. The work of the CECO has both fascinated and revolted Quebec. In particular, it revealed the extent of the power of large criminal organizations in Montreal and brought to light scandals of an unsuspected scale such as that of spoiled meat.

“In 1973, CECO hearings were held behind closed doors. The police officers who were assigned to organized crime experienced great frustration. The commission appeared to have been set up solely to appease public opinion. »

— Isabelle Richer, July 14, 2009

The mandate given by the Government of Quebec to the CECO is to lead to the dismantling of the main networks of drugs, gambling and prostitution in Quebec.

We also want to put an end to blackmail, fraud, theft, forgery and extortion related to these activities.

We are targeting the Montreal mafia in particular, which often hides behind this crime.

Host Isabelle Richer recounts the efforts of Montreal police officer Michel Lépine to dismantle the network of massage parlors in which illegal prostitution is practiced.

But initially, as host Isabelle Richer reminds us in this extract from the show Everybody was talking about it, released on July 14, 2009, the first months of CECO's existence were widely criticized for its lack of results.

May 1 1973, a journalist from the daily Le Devoir, Jean-Pierre Charbonneau, is almost assassinated at his workplace because he was too curious about the activities of the mafia.

In this context of impunity, the police and the commission must restore their image.

A brave agent from the city of Montreal, Sergeant Michel Lépine — who was soon nicknamed Quebec Inspector Columbo (the main role of a very popular American police television series at the time) — got down to work by attacking those who run the networks of massage parlors where prostitution is practiced.

The excerpt also shows how Judge Jean Dutil, who presided over the CECO, forced the reorganization of the collaboration of the various police forces engaged in the fight against the Mafia.

Another innovation, the judge authorized television broadcasting of the hearings of the commission to better fight organized crime.

The arrival of the cameras in the courtroom will project Judge Dutil and the CECO into the homes of Quebecers.

The judge unpacks a truth that both fascinates and revolts the population.

“We didn't believe at the time that it would have such a reception with the population. Two days later, the CECO called it ̋"spoiled meat". »

— Judge Jean Dutil, president of the CECO, Tout le monde en parlait, July 7, 2009

In the memory of many Quebecers, the CECO revealed the extent of a phenomenon hitherto little suspected: the presence of the mafia in the large-scale manipulation of spoiled meat sold for consumption to Quebecers.

Host Isabelle Richer recalls CECO's efforts to shed light on the links between the Mafia and the spoiled meat trade in Quebec .

This excerpt from the show Everyone talked about it,hosted by Isabelle Richer on July 7, 2009, shows the impact that CECO hearings have when they reveal the extent of the deliberate use of vast quantities of spoiled meat in Quebec.

The public learns with amazement of the involvement of the Montreal mafia in this gigantic counterfeit, the participation of several salting and butchering companies and the almost voluntary blindness of the health authorities.

In fact, we see that the chain of production, sale and quality control of meat is deeply corrupt.

Judge Dutil's decision to televise the hearings also provides an opportunity to get to know the faces of those who rule the Montreal Mafia, including godfather Frank Cotroni.

Host Isabelle Richer recalls the efforts of the CECO to dismantle the clan of the Dubois brothers in the Saint-Henri district of Montreal.

As shown in this other excerpt from the show Teveryone was talking about it July 7, 2009, the CECO television hearings also shed light on the illicit activities of the Dubois clan.

The clan Dubois is the second largest criminal organization, after the Mafia, led by the Cotroni family, in the territory of Montreal.

The nine Dubois brothers are involved in illegal gambling, extortion and prostitution.

They are also known to use violence to achieve their ends.

The Dubois brothers even managed to wrest control of a significant portion of Montreal territory from the mafia during what was called the Western War.

One ​​by one, the Dubois brothers are questioned by the commissioners.

The extent and brutality of their activities are brought to light during interrogations of bar owners terrified by threats or informers who denounce the misdeeds of the Dubois clan.

The great achievement of CECO is to have revealed the multiple links between mafia organizations and organized crime.

The CECO has also cleaned up life in Quebec… and the plates of Quebecers.

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