Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Marc Bellemare Going Down in Flames

It seems that Marc Bellemare's credibility at the Bastarache Commission is sinking faster than the Titanic. The inquiry is looking into his allegations that Liberal party fundraisers put political pressure on him to name certain people to the bench.
Jean Charest always claimed that Bellemare's allegations were full of crap, but since the Premier himself is no longer perceived as particularly trustworthy, his denial of the influence-peddling allegations, fell on the deaf ears of a jaundiced public, already battered by all sorts of scandals.

That being said, most experts agree that once Charest called the inquiry, it augured poorly for Bellemare, Charest knew full well what, or what not could be revealed. That is why to this day we don't have an inquiry into the construction industry.

In my last post about Bellemare, I warned that although he was riding high, with a whopping 68% of the public believing his testimony, he was in for a Humpty-Dumpty-like fall.

It happened Monday, as the wheels fell off the Bellemare express.

The two witnesses that Bellemare promised would back up his story, unequivocally denied the ex-Minister's story.
"Two former aides of Marc Bellemare, Quebec's justice minister in 2003 and 2004, contradicted the key witness's testimony at a provincial inquiry into judicial nominations in Quebec City Monday." Read the CBC Story
Michel Gagnon, Bellemare's former chief of staff, gave testimony that was so devastating, that Bellemare's lawyer jumped up and down with objection after objection, trying to break the momentum. At one point, he asked the witness if he was perjuring himself. The judge was not amused!

Gagnon testified that he never heard of, or saw any attempts to influence the appointment of certain candidates as judges, nor had Bellemare ever mentioned to him, anything about it. He was unequivocal about it.

As well, he directly contradicted other Bellemare testimony concerning the alleged influence peddlers, who Bellemare denied meeting with after he left office.
Gagnon told the inquiry that Bellemare did indeed meet with them in a Quebec city restaurant in an effort to raise money to fund his mayoral campaign. Link(French)

Jacques Tétrault, Bellemare's former press secretary denied that Bellemare never informed him of any inappropriate pressure being applied to the Minister, once again, in direct contradiction to what Bellemare testified, another crushing blow.

On Tuesday, the then deputy minister Michel Bouchard, delivered another stinging blow to Bellemare, indicating that he wasn't up to the job as Justice Minister and ran a 'tense' office. He became emotional when he described the way Bellemare removed Pierre Legendre from his longtime post in the Justice Ministry, all because his brother had been elected as an opposition PQ  member of the National Assembly. Link(French)

To make matters worse, the commission is calling for an expert to look at the note Bellemare placed in evidence, one that he wrote in cryptic shorthand that purportedly documented his feelings about the so-called influence peddling. The suspicion among some commission lawyers is that the incriminating part, complaining about that pressure, was added to the note at a later date. LINK
The handwriting expert will testify today and tomorrow Bellemare is going to testify again at the commissions request.

For Bellemare it is likely a case of "Lucy, you got some 'splaining to do!"

The headlines and stories in yesterday's newspapers weren't particularly kind to Bellemare, even though he has enjoyed a somewhat free ride until now.

Montreal's Le Devoir daily, no friend of Mr. Charest, described the day's testimony as "dévastatrice," no translation needed. It also added that his two former employees "demolished his allegations"

Jean-Jacques Samson in the Journal de Quebec, described Bellemare as being "manhandled and called the day's testimony a "demolition derby"

The only person rushing to Bellemare's defence was the PQ leader Pauline Marois who claimed that the commission was rigged against the ex-justice minister. 

Trying desperately to cast aspersions on the testimony of the two ex-employees, she hinted at perjury  cleverly, in that old tried and true backhand manoeuvre ; (I'm not saying he's lying but....)
"Obviously, we cannot accuse anyone of perjury.... but the evidence that both provided is very similar. The words were the same... " she analyzed.  Link(French)
If Bellemare doesn't counter the damage caused Monday, in his Thursday testimony, his goose is cooked.
He may as well start settlement talks in the $700k Charest defamation lawsuit that is looking more and more like a slam/dunk.

For Charest unfortunately, any vindication comes without political reward. Those who were convinced that Charest is a liar, won't jump back on his bandwagon. It's like being acquitted of child-molestation, the stink just doesn't wash off.

For some background information, see;


  1. Is it just me or is Quebec politics more prone to corruption then other provinces? I mean this is the province that produced Duplessis. In America the only equivalent I can think of is Huey Long from Louisiana, where there are also a lot of Francophones. Maybe it is an extension of the Francophone love for the big state or a consequence of it? Any thoughts? The Toronto guy.

  2. This is all but a gigantic plot to try to save the ass of Charest and his liberals.

    What a great farce, what a mascarade, what a waste of public money.

    Mr Editor who happens to love Charest for family reasons or what not but is not in favor of public money for the new coliseum in Quebec city, what to think of Charest wanting to finance 45% of the project.

    Not really discussed over here wasn't it (I might have missed that one sorry). As we say in French, deux poids, deux mesures, when Charest scores (which is really exceptionnal these days), that diserves a post, when he doesn't let's forget about it.

    I'm loving it.

  3. @The Toronto guy,

    To my knowledge, Ontario is also a very big statist province not as much as Quebec but pretty close indeed.

    Is it because of the 2% of French in this province or is it the McGuinty liberal government in case?

  4. @TO guy:
    "Is it just me or is Quebec politics more prone to corruption then other provinces?"

    My French-Canadian pseudo-nationalist ears peaked when I saw that...

    I'm not a fan of not doing my own gruntwork, but for a very short list, you might try

    Once you're done that, have a look at

    And if you're still awake after that, have a look at any other country's political scandals.

    I can't help but disagree with the idea that there is something inherently corrupt about Quebec politicians. We've got our share of loonies in both capitals, and some of them take to their jobs a little more than they should.

    What I do agree with is the suggestion that in Quebec we might like to make sport of skewering our politicians more than others do in different places. Perhaps the modern-day result of a colonist's parlor game to pass the time? Nature abhors a vacuum, they say...

  5. I am still inclined to think that Quebec public life has more corruption and cronyism then in other provinces. WHY this is so, I don't know. Perhaps it has something to do with the nationalist issue? Perhaps it is because of the legacy of Catholicism? Peter Brimelow argues that the Quebec state is the new Catholicism for Francophones. Maybe it is simply a by-product of Quebec's penchant for big government; more government, more government corruption. Look at the Olympic stadium fiasco. Look at all the crumbling infrastructure in Montreal and elsewhere. Much of this shoddy work was due to corruption and kickbacks. I can't think of any equivalent to Duplessis among any premiers in other provinces. This just all SEEMS UNIQUE to Quebec. Like so many other bad or unpleasant things. Look at the FLQ terrorists. They planted bombs for years. Blew up the Montreal exchange. Killed people. In what other province did anything like this happen? Look how the army occupied Montreal in 1970. This has never happened in any other province. Look at Oka. Even the ugly biker war which killed hundreds. I can't SEE any of this happening elsewhere in Canada. What trouble does P.E.I. cause? What bad news comes from Saskatchewan? Will the Canadian army have to be called out to occupy Halifax like it did Montreal? The fact is there is SOMETHING about Quebec. And its NOT SOMETHING good. For all of this and a million other reasons I just think the province is more trouble then its worth. I mean its not Alberta with vast oil wealth. Look at the huge transfer payments, etc.. The Toronto guy.

  6. @The Toronto guy

    Serait-ce que le ROC n'est pas encore entré dans le 21 ième siècle comme le reste du monde?
    L'Alberta aurait-elle remplacé la corruption par la pollution...Je ne sais pas.

  7. @The Toronto guy

    Pourquoi tant de mots pour simplement dire que vous détestez le Québec et sa population?

  8. @Anonymous 8:03 AM

    "Serait-ce que le ROC n'est pas encore entré dans le 21 ième siècle comme le reste du monde?
    L'Alberta aurait-elle remplacé la corruption par la pollution...Je ne sais pas. "

    First of all I live in Quebec, and I am tired of separatists constantly blaming Alberta for whatever is wrong in Quebec.

    If it were not for them, you would be getting nothing at all. It must piss off separatists that Alberta has been far more prosperous than Quebec has over the last 30 years.

    I think, if you look at all the problems with highway infrastructure, decaying public transit, it would appear that it is Quebec who refuses to move into the 21st century and Canada is waiting for them.

    Quebec separatist live in the past and continue to do so. Without the past they are nothing. Just look at the license plate on your car and tell me Quebec is not living in the past.

    I would much rather people in North America see it as " La Belle Province"

  9. Difficile a croire que quelqu'un :

    - Qui se délace avec un cheval

    - Que son sport préféré est le rodéo

    - Qui est vêtu comme un cow boy

    - Qui exploite encore une énergie fossile

    - Qui a l'accent d'un fermier du Wyoming

    Vit au 21 ième siècle.Non?

  10. @Anonymous 11:29 AM

    Ok, nice non-reply to my comments.

    So now you are making fun of culture, a why of life, different spots and what is used to keep person house heated? Wow. Typical comments of a separatist in a losing argument, “if you are not the same as us then you are nothing”.

    "Qui exploite encore une énergie fossile"

    So Quebec mines and exports this,ASBESTOS, what is worst ?

    "Qui est vêtu comme un cow boy"
    Now I know why separatist hate Carey Price so much.

  11. These mocking comments about cowboys and their lifestyle is hilarious. One of the band that separatists like to use as an example of successful French music in Quebec is "Les Cowboys Fringants".

    Not to mention that the sports of rodeo and the country music are actually alive and well in the PROVINCE of Quebec.

  12. To Troy at 10:01 PM:

    There are festivals every summer at Saint-Tite and Sainte-Andre-Avellin in Quebec, where the Quebecois try their best to imitate western cowboys.

  13. The real question here is: " Why is Bellemare so frustraded?" Politics being what it is, what is it he wanted and was not granted by the Liberals when he was one of the PLQ Ministers? To believe the PLQ is the only tinted party is wrong, the reason why we did not hear about the PQ and its links to corruptions yet, is because Pauline called the elections before the Commission Charbonneau got to them.

    Last, is there more corruption in Quebec than somewhere else, I do not think so. Its simply because someone decided to make it public. I do not believe the rest of Canada is any better. Its simply not spoken about.

  14. @ Anonymous. The St-Tite Western Festival is one of the biggest in North-America. With 600 000 Visitors, many from the US and the ROC, I would not call it an imitation. Maybe you should take the time to pay it a visit next fall and see for yourself.