Reporters and opposition politicians are clamouring for an inquiry into the construction industry, which has been accused of inflating government construction contracts through collusion and for paying off politicians to turn a blind eye. They show a painfully naive understanding of our Premier, Jean Charest.
I'll say it now, loud and clear.
THERE WILL BE NO INQUIRY. Not as long a Jean Charest is in charge.
He's an interesting character, different from most politicians. He's extremely intelligent and has a rapier mind and a fantastic memory. I witnessed this trait first hand sitting with him in the members' observation gallery, over-looking the House of Commons in Ottawa. As MPs spoke, Charest commented on the ongoing debate, displaying a deep grasp of the issues as well as an instant recall of mundane facts and quotes.
If you're a hockey fan, you'll understand what I mean when I compare him to TSN's Pierre McGuire.
But what sets Charest apart, is his ability to remain calm in the face of disaster and the sang froid that allows him the calmness to do nothing, when to do something is an inferior option.
There aren't that many politicians who possess this trait. Perhaps Jean Chretien was the last great politician that was able to rise above the panic and follow the expedient course of battening down the hatches.
Ex-Prime Minister Paul Martin paid the price of not understanding the concept. Faced with unrelenting criticism in regard to the sponsorship scandal, he called an inquiry to clear the air. Having nothing to do with the scandal, he naively believed that he would be perceived as a white knight.
Ultimately, the public punished him and his party in the next election, the only recourse they had to reek revenge.
As Jean Chretien was quoted as saying.
"Better to sweep the affair under the rug, even if it makes a big bump!"
Charest is a planner, a plodder and someone who has had success controlling events around him. Surprises are not things that he likes.
A few months ago, he was freaked out by a request by the Oliphant inquiry over a request that he testify in regards to payments made to him by our good friend, Karl-Heinz Schreiber. Luckily for him it never came to pass (I don't know why.)
Mr. Charest is honest. To my knowledge he has never taken money in exchange of a benefit or favour, but he has accepted contributions, lots, as do all politicians.
Mr. Charest may be chubby, but he's not stupid. He is wise enough to understand that any inquiry is dangerous and un-controllable. The circus atmosphere that surrounded the Gomery Inquiry is not something that he'd like to see repeated.
Better to take a little heat now, stay calm and let things calm down.
It's worked before. Remember the scandal at the Caisse?