So Macleans thinks Quebec is the most corrupt province,...come on we are trying here in BC ,.......& how about Ontario their pretty good at thievery too........what about Alberta (paid off with Oil Dough).................that Quebec gets all the good headlines...lol
Marc Bellemare isn’t a particularly interesting man to look at, so you’d think the spectre of watching him sit behind a desk and answer questions for hours on end would have Quebecers switching the channel en masse. And yet, the province’s former justice minister has been must-see TV over the past few weeks, if only because of what has been flowing out of his mouth.
Bellemare, who has been testifying in an inquiry into the process by which judges are appointed in Quebec, has particularly bad memories of his brief stint in cabinet, from 2003 to 2004. The Liberal government, then as now under the leadership of Premier Jean Charest, was rife with collusion, graft and barely concealed favouritism, he says—the premier himself so beholden to Liberal party fundraisers that they had a say in which judges were appointed to the bench. “It happened in [Charest’s] office. He was relaxed, he served me a Perrier,” Bellemare testified. The two spoke about Franco Fava, a long-time Liberal fundraiser who, according to Bellemare, was lobbying for Marc Bisson (the son of another Liberal fundraiser) and Michel Simard to be promoted. “I said, ‘Who names the judges, me or Franco Fava?’ I was very annoyed. I found it unacceptable,” Bellemare recalls. He remembers Charest saying, “ ‘Franco is a personal friend. He’s an influential fundraiser for the party. We need men like this. We have to listen to them. If he says to nominate Bisson and Simard, nominate them.’ ”
Judicial selection may be a topic as dry as Bellemare’s own clipped monotone, yet the public inquiry currently under way has been a ratings success. It has veered into bizarro CSI territory, complete with testimony from an ink specialist who discerned that Bellemare had used at least two different pens when writing notes on a piece of cardboard. And despite his reputation as a bit of a crank, and the fact his supposedly airtight memory is prone to contradictions and convenient lapses, Quebecers believe Bellemare’s version of events over that of Jean Charest, the longest serving Quebec premier in 50 years—by as much as four to one, according to polls.
Part of the reason for this is the frankly disastrous state of Charest’s government. In the past two years, the government has lurched from one scandal to the next, from political financing to favouritism in the provincial daycare system to the matter of Charest’s own (long undisclosed) $75,000 stipend, paid to him by his own party, to corruption in the construction industry. Charest has stymied repeated opposition calls for an investigation into the latter, prompting many to wonder whether the Liberals, who have long-standing ties to Quebec’s construction companies, have something to hide. (Regardless, this much is true: it costs Quebec taxpayers roughly 30 per cent more to build a stretch of road than anywhere else in the country, according to Transport Canada figures.) Quebecers want to believe Bellemare, it seems, because what he says is closest to what they themselves believe about their government.
This slew of dodgy business is only the most recent in a long line of made-in-Quebec corruption that has affected the province’s political culture at every level. We all recall the sponsorship scandal, in which businessmen associated with the Liberal Party of Canada siphoned off roughly $100 million from a fund effectively designed to stamp the Canadian flag on all things Québécois, cost (or oversight) be damned. “I am deeply disturbed that such practices were allowed to happen,” wrote Auditor General Sheila Fraser in 2004. Fraser’s report and the subsequent commission by Justice John Gomery, which saw the testimony of Liberal prime ministers Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin, wreaked havoc on Canada’s natural governing party from which it has yet to recover.
MORE TO COME…
CLARIFICATION: The cover of last week’s magazine, with the headline “The Most Corrupt Province in Canada,” featured a photo-illustrated editorial cartoon depicting Bonhomme Carnaval carrying a briefcase stuffed with money. The cover has been criticized by representatives of the Carnaval de Québec, of which Bonhomme is a symbol.
While Maclean’s recognizes that Bonhomme is a symbol of the Carnaval, the character is also more widely recognized as a symbol of the province of Quebec. We used Bonhomme as a means of illustrating a story about the province’s political culture, and did not intend to disparage the Carnaval in any way. Maclean’s is a great supporter of both the Carnaval and of Quebec tourism. Our coverage of political issues in the province will do nothing to diminish that support.
....Hey baby tell us something we don't know,Quebec has always been corrupt & that's not about to change.......................HF&RV