(might be my most tabloidish headline yet 🙂 )
Jean Charest rejects demands for collusion inquiry
by Andy Riga
MONTREAL – He has not read the report and he’s not going to call an inquiry or take extra steps to ensure the Liberal Party of Quebec is not benefiting from payoffs from firms getting road-construction contracts.
That’s in part how Premier Jean Charest reacted Friday to an explosive report about road-construction collusion. The report, by former police chief Jacques Duchesneau, points the finger at bikers, the Mafia, construction firms, engineering companies, Transport Quebec employees and political parties.
“No government before us had done as much to fight corruption and collusion,” Charest said at a news conference about the secret report, which was leaked to the media this week.
“We are providing the means to stop the problem; we’re putting permanent and independent tools in place” to collect evidence and prosecute wrongdoers, he said.
But he rejected renewed calls for a public inquiry, an idea supported by 77 per cent of Quebecers, according a new Léger Marketing poll. Full article here.
What is it they are afraid of? 77% is surely a number that makes governments stop and take a look in a democracy? But this is the way it is today, they get power and completely ignore the people. Stephen Harper is going to run Canada like that, so why should Quebec be any different? Trouble is we are at the dawn of an era of unprecedented infrastructure spending, and a lot of people are expecting to get the gravy ( Can you hear that Rob Ford? Stephen Harper?) from all those big fat contracts rebuilding and replacing our crumbling infrastructure, while Ottawa promises a construction boom for new prisons that will only increase crime across the country as the American lesson has so profoundly taught the world.
And they will continue cutting all the social programs that have made our communities healthy while feeding the greedy and corrupt with our hard earned tax dollars.
Is the truth so terrible that we should not embrace it for our own good? That seems to be the underlying theme to Mr. Charest’s ridiculous claim that he is to be trusted to bring justice to our society and our economy. I tend to think most of us could take it. The truth will probably be much worse than we have imagined, but we are past the point of no return on this one. A positive future for Quebec is dependent on resolving this issue once and for all.
Anti-corruption team under the gun
by Henry Aubin
Is there any good news at all in that terribly discouraging report on how political parties and Quebec’s Ministry of Transport systemically enable organized crime and construction companies to drive up the cost of publicworks projects?
Yes. There’s at least one unit within the provincial government that is manifestly earnest (as distinct from rhetorically earnest) about uprooting corruption. This is the squad that produced this week’s devastating report. The squad, headed by Jacques Duchesneau, was created by the Ministry of Transport to cast light on shady practices in road construction. The report names no names, but in detailing ways in which political financing, ministerial failings and corporate colluding combine to create an orgy of waste, the team has proved itself to be a beacon of hard work and integrity.
That’s the encouraging news. The bad news is that more powerful players in the Charest government’s ostensible war on corruption are undercutting the squad. The vast majority of team members are considering leaving. Reached Friday, one authoritative source on the team told me that Duchesneau himself is so upset that he has told colleagues he could leave. Full article here.