Saturday, June 27, 2009

Weekly Anglo Quebec News June 20-26

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Every Saturday read a short, subjective weekly review of Quebec
news with a Anglophone POV.

Quebec celebrates Fete Saint Jean Holiday, which signals the start of the summer holiday season. All went off without any rioting, which for Quebec is pleasant change.

Montreal city hall under the influence. It is becoming sadly apparent that Montreal is a city in deep trouble with allegations of corruption in relation to the awarding of contracts. While no one would suggest that Mayor Tremblay is corrupt, he does seem sadly naive as to what is going on around him. It all unravelled when the mayor's number one guy Frank Zampino, left his job abruptly to take a job with Tony Accurso, a man whose various company's have been awarded the lion's share of city contracts and which are the subject of numerous criminal and tax investigations. It didn't smell right and pressed by the media, it was revealed that Zampino was quite cosy with Arccurso while working for the city, taking two vacations aboard his luxury yacht in the Caribbean. While denying any wrongdoing, Zampino ended up to resigning his new job. What's most telling in all this, is that Acurrso has been deathly silent, refusing to comment or to be interviewed. The man is so secretive and camera-shy, that it's makes whole affair even more suspicious.
The story continues to embarrass the city. This week, the world famous, London based weekly news magazine, 'THE ECONOMIST' with 1.4 million copies printed internationally, ran an article about the affair, entitled- Water and Grime.

The city has also come under fire for another dubious practice, the hiring of private companies to decide which tenders the city should accept in relation to city contracts. Instead of using civil servants to do the work, the city outsources the job, leaving private companies to decide which other private companies will win city contracts. Conflict anyone?
The press is calling for a full-scale inquiry.
It leaves Montrealers with a sad choice in this fall's mayoralty election. They'll choose between an incompetent nice guy and a autocratic hard-line separatist. Ouch!

Liberals win 2 by-elections.
Three months ago when the $40 billion loss of the Caisse de Depot became public, Premier Charest was accused of a cover up and the Liberal party's reputation was in tatters. Well, it's seems that the Premier played his stinky poker hand beautifully and the springtime debacle is all but forgotten. The Liberals won the two by-elections held on Monday for vacant seats in the National Assembly. One was a no-brainer, a safe seat in Montreal, but the other was Mario Dumont's vacated seat in Riviere-du-Loup. The ADQ came in a distant third and now seems destined to the scrap heap. This auger's badly for the PQ and there's got to be a lot of hand-wringing going on over at the sovereignists HQ.
By the end of the week, the PQ's brightest star, Francis Legault, the economic critic, decided to resign, citing the tedious nature of sitting in opposition as well as his disappointment in the lazy direction Quebec society is going. Some in the media believe that it may be a strategic move to take over the leadership when Pauline Marois implodes. With such a feeble result in a by-election that they should have won, it be long before the knives come out for Pauline, it's a PQ tradition..

Ex-Premier Robert Bourassa a child molester? The guy who wrote the tell all book about Guy Laliberte, Ian Halperin says that André Arthur, a famous Quebec radio personaility and sitting federal MP (Portneuf-IND) that not only was Robert Bourassa gay, but also a child molester.
In his Blog Halperin wrote;
"Quebec’s all time king of talk radio and tv Andre Arthur was taken aback when my story about Robert Bourassa being gay and a child molester was published. Arthur, whom I consider a veritable Quebec icon and class act, asked me to publish a clarification of what happened. I told him I was aware of a new book about Quebec’s late Premier being published. When I told Arthur about rumours of Bourassa being gay Arthur responded that Bourassa was not only gay but also a “paedophile”. Arthur then went into more detail about Bourassa’s private forays which stunned me. Arthur wrote me saying he would not deny what he said but added that “It was along the lines of an idea for the author of a book...." LINK
Up to now, the mainstream press isn't touching the story with a ten foot pole. The fact that the person who made these allegations is a sitting MP in Ottawa doesn't seem to matter. That's how scary the story is...

Another story heating up this week related to Ian Halperin is the one about Guy Lalblerté is seeking an injunction to have the tell all book removed from bookstores. Halperin answered with a $500,ooo lawsuit of his own, for comments made by the Cirque founder about him to Yahoo news on June 16. Here's the naughty part that Halperin objected to;

On Tuesday, Laliberte described Halperin's book, which claims to chronicle his excessive partying lifestyle, as "a piece of crap" and said it is "full of lies."

"It's a cheap shot from (a) guy who's trying to make money out of the success of somebody else," Laliberte said. "The guy (Halperin) is a crook, like the editor, taking advantage of gossip.

Read the article here

If he wins, it'll probably be more money than he makes from the book! The kerfuffle has made the NY Post's Page Six.

The NHL entry draft opened at the Bell Centre in Montreal on Friday with first round selections. There were few surprises and the Canadiens made the fans happy by choosing Montreal native West-Islander Louis Leblanc as their first choice. The impeccably bilingual 18-year old center gave interviews in perfect French and English after his selection. Obviously, he's no dummy, especially considering that he is off to Harvard in the fall. Yup, that Harvard.

Bits'n Pieces
A caleche driver (tourist horse & buggy) in Quebec City was stopped by a tourist cop for driving under the influence. Since he wasn't operating a motorized vehicle and the horse wasn't drunk, all the coachman was liable for, was a $300 fine.

A Quebec City photographer has neighbours buzzing by storing a coffin under his balcony. What's he doing with it. Something, but he doesn't know yet. Where'd he get it? ...Someone threw it out.

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