It's the media's job to keep politicians in check by exposing their transgressions. For the press, it's good for business, scandal sells newspapers. Just look at Tiger Woods.
Usually the press does a good job, but here is the first of two stories (I'll write about the other one next week) where they let their guard down badly.
The Parti Quebecois has been testing the issue of Jean Charest's extra pay package for a week or two and now finally satisfied that the issue is a winner, Pauline Marois herself, weighed in.
She hammered Charest for accepting a $75,000 annual payment from the Quebec Liberal Party in addition to the $175,000 salary that he is paid as Premier.
"Your salary has to come from the government of Quebec, not the Quebec Liberal Party," complained Marois. "If the Liberal Party pays him $75,000 it is because it has expectations and I think this is not acceptable,"
Expectations!!!! HA! HA!
Anyone in politics knows that a politician's first level of loyalty is to the political party that gets him or her elected and it's obscene that Marois knowingly misrepresents the facts in so blatant a manner without being called out on it.
Ninety-nine percent of everything Madame Marois says and does is meant to satisfy her political party. To say with a straight face that the Premier of Quebec or the leader of the opposition or any member of the assembly works for the good of the people before the good of party is claptrap.
The Quebec Liberal Party is Jean Charest's real employer and whether you like it or not, being Premier is a job he splits with working on behalf of the Liberal Party, to further it's success. The same goes for Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party and Pauline Marois herself and the Parti Quebecois.
That Marois has stated that the Premier must work for the people and not his party is utter nonsense.
She went on to say that Mr. Charest should live on his salary. I guess it's an easy thing to say when you're the wife of a multi-millionaire and live in an eight million dollar home. It's akin to Donald Trump telling us to be satisfied with what we have. Isn't anyone in the media going to ask her if she is really the right person to scold anyone on the merits of living on a budget.
Isn't anyone going to ask her to explain how her husband, Claude Blanchet got so rich? He was the failed and incompetent directer of the government's Société Général de financement, who left the agency in disgrace, almost a billion dollars in the hole, but not before negotiating himself an $80,000 pension for life from Madame Marois' PQ government. Is anyone going to ask her how this idiot became such a big wheeler and dealer, getting rich doing business with the government while his wife was a Quebec cabinet minister? Did his time running the sleazy FTQ Solidarity Fund and his business relationship with the infamous Tony Accurso also somehow lead to his new found millions?
When it comes to ethics there is little Marois can contribute. The stink surrounding the construction of the mansion she and her husband built on agricultural land hasn't gone away or been forgotten.
She should be ripped apart for her hypocritical stance.
As for the $75,000 bonus paid to Mr. Charest by the Liberal party it's none of our business.
At the time Mr. Charest was being
The Liberal party was in desperate need of a leader and Charest was seen as it's saviour. The decision to uproot his young family and accept a new and uncertain job was difficult. Would it have made sense to move from a secure job in Parliament as leader of a national party (albeit diminished) without some personal guarantees and financial reward? There was no guarantee at the time that he would become Premier.
When is it unethical to do the best for your family?
I know the agony he went through in making the decision to accept the job. He could have asked for triple what he did and it would have all been paid willingly. Millionaires were lined up, ready, willing and able to make 'brown bag donations' to insure that he took the job.
Instead he negotiated himself a package from the Liberal Party, no different than anyone else being courted for a position by a desperate employer.
There is nothing sleazy, dishonest or unethical with a political party topping up a leader's salary. While most citizens believe that $175,000 is a fantastic salary, it is paltry compared to what any top level CEO is paid. It is also fair to remind people that Mr. Charest's wife by virtue of her husband's position cannot seek employment. She does in fact work tirelessly on behalf of the government, the Liberal party and many charities as an unpaid goodwill ambassador.
Look at Brian Mulroney and the Karl-Heinz Schreiber situation. Mulroney stated that he was desperate for the money. Is that the position we want our Premier to be in? Let us not be hypocrites like Madame Marois.
Quebeckers are generally a jealous lot when it comes to success and wealthy people and the issue of Charest's salary is one that will unfortunately pay dividends for the PQ. Usually these types of attacks are off base, since the separatists started the Liberals should start attacking Marois' wealth.
It reminds me of a joke that I'll Canadianize.
A father and young son on a Calgary street watch as a Rolls-Royce drives by. "Son, see that car. If you work really hard and become successful, one day you might be able to buy one!"
A father and son on a Quebec City street see a Rolls-Royce drive by. "Son, see that car. Bought with stolen money by the exploitation of workers!