Time for Tremblay to go!

Toula Foscolos
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The sheer scope of the corruption here in Quebec has been hinted on for so long now, we had almost grown accustomed to treating it like an urban legend. The roads were a disaster, pieces of concrete were crashing on our heads, the province’s debt skyrocketed, but if no one actually saw evidence of any collusion and bid-rigging, than who really knew if it existed, right?

Toula Foscolos

Remember Maclean’s infamous by now 2009 cover, with “Montreal is a corrupt, mob-ridden disgrace”, plastered all over the front? Many in the province were outraged; quick to call it Quebec bashing. In hindsight, was some voluntary blindness taking place?

I suspect that none of us were really ready to come to terms with the extent of the corruption people were alluding to. Perhaps we were hoping, the way women around the world, enamoured with U.S. gold-medal-winning swimmer, Ryan Lochte’s six pack, hoped against hope, that he wasn’t as mind-numbingly dumb as his responses lead us to believe, that things here weren’t that bad.

Turns out, they were much much worse, and the Charbonneau Commission is now revealing the nasty underbelly of this province-wide corruption, testimony after shocking testimony. Alas, people… if it quacks like a duck, and walks like a duck, all indications are by now that it’s a mafia-controlled corrupt-to-the-core duck.

Quebecers are still vacillating between disgust and comedic relief, desperately trying to find something humorous in revelations of money being stuffed in socks and all the unsavoury Cosa Nostra clichés we grew up watching in mafia flicks on the big screen. There should be something inherently wrong about me driving to work, listening to Paul Arcand’s morning show, while the theme to The Godfather plays on the air, but I suppose it’s the only way for shell-shocked Montrealers to deal.

And now, while Lino Zambito has clearly implicated the mayor’s party, and three municipal employees have been suspended amidst revelations of wrongdoing, people are questioning whether Mayor Tremblay should resign.

Some believe that until specific and clear evidence of collusion points to the mayor, he should remain where he is. Are you kidding me?

Worst case scenario, Tremblay was either well aware of what was taking place or/and was a willing participant in it. Best case scenario, he was blissfully unaware of the scope and depth of this massive corruption around him, which doesn’t speak well of his intelligence.

Neither scenario is a good one, and under the circumstances, I’m not sure which is worse. Irrelevant of the fact that this probably didn’t start on his watch, it was allowed to happen on his watch. It was allowed to continue and fester on his watch, and for that, he needs to do the honourable thing and resign.

Alas, people… if it quacks like a duck, and walks like a duck, all indications are by now that it’s a mafia-controlled corrupt-to-the-core duck.

Let’s hope that the Charbonneau Commission continues to do its job, and uncovers and unmasks what needs to be exposed and expunged. Transparency is a powerful weapon against corruption. It’s vital that things improve.

U.S. electoral debates

Whether they’re really game changers, or simple entertainment for political junkies, the fact remains that presidential and vice-presidential debates remain the final sprint to U.S. elections, and are watched by many of us Canadians.

Since it’s often quite difficult to decipher what’s true and what simply sounds truthful during a debate, I thought some of you might find www.PolitiFact.com helpful. A project operated by the Tampa Bay Times, it’s a non-partisan politics fact-checking website. They publish original statements made by politicians and lobbyists, and then evaluate them on and assign each a "Truth-O-Meter" rating. The ratings range from "True" for completely accurate statements to "Pants on Fire" for outright lies.

While the website is far from perfect, it was still awarded the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting in 2009 for "its fact-checking initiative during the 2008 presidential campaign that used probing reporters and the power of the World Wide Web to examine more than 750 political claims, separating rhetoric from truth to enlighten voters.” (Wikipedia)

It’s a worthwhile website to link to, if interested in U.S. politics and/or the convoluted world of politics and political double speak. Follow them on Twitter (@politifact) while watching the debates, for a little added fun. Romney and Obama debate again Oct. 16, and Oct. 22. Biden and Ryan have their lone debate on Oct. 11.


Organizations: Charbonneau Commission, Cosa Nostra, Tampa Bay Times World Wide Web Wikipedia

Geographic location: U.S., Montreal, Quebec

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