Of Cows and Votes, Mayors and the Mob in Quebec

( photo courtesy Dave Sidaway, The Gazette)

Yesterday, in the largest city in “la belle province”, the mayor Michael Applebaum was arrested in his home, and he resigned today, becoming the second Montreal mayor in a row to do so. There have also been continued revelations about corruption in Quebec via testimony before the Charbonneau Commission, particularly concerning the Mafia’s control of the construction industry and political campaign finance wrongdoing.

With this in view, when will Canadian Parliamentarians apologize for censuring Maclean’s magazine for telling the ugly truth, (a rare thing in Canada, in my view), when it called Quebec the most corrupt province in Canada? The cover of Maclean’s issue of October 4th, 2010, declared: “The Most Corrupt Province In Canada: Accusations of influence peddling in Jean Charest’s cabinet are just the latest mess. Why so many political scandals happen in Quebec.”

In an article in the issue, the magazine stated:
“As politicians and experts from every facet of the political spectrum told Maclean’s, the history of corruption is sufficiently long and deep in Quebec that it has bred a culture of mistrust of the political class. It raises an uncomfortable question: why is it that politics in Canada’s bête noire province seems perpetually rife with scandal?”
Could it be the same reason this level of corruption exists in Mexico, for example, the deeply held beliefs of the people, ie Catholicism? Maclean’s greatly angered elites in Canada, particularly in Quebec political circles, who vigorously condemned it and the Canadian Parliament unanimously censured the magazine.
I rescinded my Conservative Party of Canada membership because of this early in 2011, in writing, stating:
“I have been a member of the Conservative Party since last year but unfortunately, recent events have caused me to reconsider my membership. On October 4th of last year, Maclean’s magazine called Quebec the most corrupt province in the country. I firmly believe that Maclean’s was completely correct. The Conservative Party participated in the unanimous motion passed in the House of Parliament declaring “profound sadness” at the truthful coverage by Maclean’s…For this and other recent actions by the governing party…I wish you to remove me from any membership list of the Conservative Party.”

Revelations coming from Quebec’s corruption inquiry continue to show how correct Maclean’s was. It has featured an admission by Canada’s largest engineering company, SNC-Lavalin, of its participation in unlawful political financing in the province. In May, the Globe and Mail reported that a former Liberal bagman’s testimony “revealed that political parties have long obtained most of their campaign money through illegal fundraising schemes”, covering the time of Maurice Duplessis “in the 1950s when he used cows and television sets to entice voters, right up to the 2000s…” One director of a construction company told of a Mob dispute that resulted in his car being blown up and a 2010 book by investigative journalists Andre Noel and Andre Cedilot alleges that in Montreal alone, 600 businesses have been force by the  Mob to pay protection money.

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