Is Quebec the most corrupt province in Canada?
That’s the question Macleans magazine tried to address with its most recent cover story, which caused a backlash in the province and calls from the highest levels of “Quebec bashing”.
Macleans took a look at why Quebec always seems to be mired in political scandal, from the dark days of Maurice Duplessis’ Union Nationale to the on-going inquiry into judge appointments by Quebec Premier Jean Charest, is well timed.
The current controversy has put Charest in the hot seat at the Bastarache Commission, where former justice minister Marc Bellemare accuses the premier of favouritism in his appointment of judges to the bench. The allegations by Bellemare that an influential Liberal Party fundraiser told him who their judicial selection would be, has brought another dark period to light in the province.
In the Macleans article, no one is spared. Former Prime Ministers Brian Mulroney, Jean Chretien and Paul Martin are mentioned for their involvement in political scandals that haunt them and Quebec to this day.
Quebecers never like to see their province’s dirty laundry hung out in front of the nation. But one thing this article does is use research to back up their claims that politicians here seem more corrupt than anywhere else in Canada. Besides, why does it cost more for a stretch of highway to be built in Quebec than in any other province?
The ‘culture of mistrust’ that Macleans says was created in Quebec is definitely a real sentiment felt by Quebecers when speaking of their political elite. The Liberal Party has been re-elected time and again, making Jean Charest one of the province’s longest-serving premiers, which is a mind-boggling fact.
Sure Macleans is an English magazine, but the article is not an attempt to ridicule French Canadians for their inability to be masters of their house. In fact, Macleans is arguing the opposite. These politicians may become corrupt after years in office, but once they’re found out, Quebecers are quick to give them the boot and elect someone new.
Even the sole Quebec Solidaire MNA Amir Khadir makes an interesting point. In the Macleans article Khadir mentions how politicians in Quebec City are getting way too comfortable. “Today’s PQ and the Liberals are of the same political class that has governed Quebec for 40 years. The more they stay in power, the more vulnerable to corruption they become. There hasn’t been any sort of renewal in decades,” he says.
The fact that Macleans decided to call Quebec on it’s shameful record of political scandal, should be taken seriously and hopefully will shake-up the political establishment in this province. “Quebec bashing” wasn’t the objective and is easily used by the establishment to get Quebecers to defend them. Let’s hang out our dirty laundry and let those holding office prove themselves worthy of their prestigious positions.