The Queen had only one way of settling all difficulties, great or small. 'Off with his head!' she said, without even looking around. -Alice in Wonderland
In light of the utter failure of the government, the police, or the justice system in general to deal with lawlessness and corruption sweeping Quebec, it isn't any wonder that citizens are attempting to take matters into their own hands by demanding loudly that miscreants be removed from office.
There is a distinct smell of blood in the water, which started with the mayors of both Terrebonne and Mascouche stepping down temporarily in the face of overwhelming public pressure. In the case of the Mascouche mayor, he was lucky he didn't show up to the next scheduled city council meeting, after the story of his alleged corruption broke, as an angry mob was set to greet him.
A petition demanding Premier Charest's resignation has reached over two hundred thousand signatures in just two weeks and continues to grow. Although without any legal status, the petition is nonetheless a powerful message that people are not happy.
Last year, the PQ launched a similar Internet petition demanding a construction industry inquiry and was able to raise a scant 60,000 signatures over two months. Not much of an accomplishment considering that there are a 100,000 card carrying members of the PQ.
But things have changed.
The Maclean's magazine article,
which called Quebec 'the most corrupt province in Canada' was the match that lit the fire. It was the 'tipping point' that sent the media on a witch hunt with the determination of a bloodhound, a chase that has proved more fruitful than one could have imagined.
And so the front pages of the Journal de Montreal and La Presse have become the new Place de la Révolution, the public square in Paris where over 1,300 French aristocrats and 'anti-revolutionaries' met a very public demise at the hands of a vengeful and bloodthirsty mob, under the blade of the infamous guillotine.
So hungry was the mob for blood, that feeding its appetite for blood led to the arrest and execution of some whose only crime was suspicion and innuendo.
No matter, a mob is a mob and must be fed.
Like the hapless Duke of Orleans who was executed in that 'Reign of Terror' with the flimsiest evidence, his last words remain prescient: "Ah liberty, how hast thou been sported with!"
And so I was deeply saddened to see the picture of Jacques Duchesneau featured amid a rogues gallery on the front page of the Journal de Montreal last week.
Adding his name to the list was a cruel act, unworthy of a reputable newspaper. But of course, it was Le Journal de Montreal, where the truth never gets in the way of a good story.
It is a case of over-reaching on a monumental scale, because Jacques Duchesneau is not a crook.
How do I know?
Because I worked with him long enough to get a sense of the man.
Jacques may have many faults, but dishonesty is not one of them.
His worst fault is his monstrous personal ambition, a mega force that has driven every aspect of his career.
I knew him from the time he was chief of police of Montreal where I noticed right away that he didn't do much of the mundane everyday work related to his job, preferring to let highly capable associates carry the ball.
It was his style of management to delegate everything, whilst he looked for a new challenge. Something his employees joked about. Ambition.
While working as police chief, Jacques had his eye firmly on the next job. He concentrated on making contacts and upping his scholastic achievements by attending those executive types of programs offered by universities to highly placed executives.
When the opportunity presented to run for mayor, he jumped, one of the few mistakes he made in his upward career march.
When asked to support his campaign, I told an organizer that his run was a mistake. Montrealers hate cops. He wasn't going to win. I told him that It would be a setback, which it turned out to be.
Jacques then went on to become head of CATSA (equivalent to the hated TSA in the States) where he immediately set his sites on something bigger. His lack of attention to the job and his globe-trotting habit of attending conference after conference on the agency's dime, finally led to a board of directers revolt and his forced 'resignation.' But in the meantime he had built quite a reputation as a crime fighter that led to the job that Charest had given him last year.
Today, the allegation that has surfaced about his campaign for mayor is being portrayed as a scandal, when in fact, even if true, is no big deal.
When he lost the election, his party, Nouveau Montréal, was close to $200,000 in debt and instead of going bankrupt they did the honourable thing, took out a loan and paid back the debt over a couple of years.The loan required ten 'co-signers' (because nobody can 'lend' more that $10,000 dollars to a political party) and this is where one of the signatures turned out to be allegedly false. The loan however was paid back in full and the story long forgotten until somebody broke the news of the so-called fake name. Had the loan defaulted it would have been another story.
The whole incident if true, would be sanctioned by a small fine. No big deal.
For a good analysis read Patrick Lagace's article in La Presse
An article in LE DEVOIR says that the campaign to hurt Duchesneau is being orchestrated by construction industry types, who want his investigations to stop.
At any rate, the accusation that Jacques was behind the so-called fake signature is patently absurd, he couldn't arrange a car loan himself, he'd most certainly delegate it out. It's what he does
Jacques delegated the running of his campaign to a close friend and confidant Jean-Pierre Allaire, a slick and capable over-achiever with a financial background as an accountant, who was equally on a upwardly mobile career tract.
Ever since their days together, volunteering to run a large Quebec charity, they've become Fric and Frac.
As campaign manger, it was Allaire that controlled the money. It is likely that it was he who arranged the 'loans' and it is a fact that it was in his office where the signings took place.
When asked about the incident of the so-called 'fake' signatory, Allaire told the press that; "It's in the past. I haven't got anything to say about" Hmmm... Very reassuring! LINK
Don't look for him to take responsibility, if he did in fact engineer the affair. It isn't in his nature, he's also a notorious career climber.
And so it appears that we are about to sacrifice one of the good guys. It's too bad.