The latest bombshell surrounds Laval's Gilles Vaillancourt. The mayor of Quebec's second largest city was accused in no uncertain terms of offering illegal campaign contributions.
"Bloc Québécois MP Serge Ménard and Liberal MNA Vincent Auclair both publicly alleged Tuesday that Laval Mayor Gilles Vaillancourt offered them envelopes of cash – in 1993 in Mr. Ménard’s case and 2002 for Mr. Auclair." LINK
|Do I look like a crook?|
I'll remind readers that in a column I wrote last week, Quebec Towns Swimming in Cesspool of Corruption, that I mentioned Laval as a city where dubious governance issues swirled around the latest big ticket construction project.
To say that Quebeckers are fed up with corruption is an understatement. The people of the fair city of Laval, who voted massively for the mayor, giving him a 100% majority on town council last election, now want him out.
In a quicky poll published in the Journal de Montreal 57% have said that they have lost confidence in the mayor and believe by a margin of 3 to 1 that Menard and Auclair are telling the truth.
And so the Premier is finally cornered. Damned if he does, damned if he doesn't.
Calling an inquiry will be fatal. Not calling one, probably fatal. What would you choose?
Construction types have already sent the message through the grapevine, that if the Premier calls an inquiry they're going to bleed all over him. Ouch!
It doesn't matter what's true or not, we've already seen in the Bastarache commission that lying under oath is a no-brainer for politicians.
At that august inquiry, Premier Charest and the ex-justice minister, Marc Bellemare, both swore to tell the truth and then contradicted each other over the most basic of facts, whether or not they met on a certain Saturday night.
Somebody's lying, it's either Tweedledee or Tweedledum,. (My money's on Bellemare being the liar, he and his wife both look shifty!)
Besides, I don't think that Jean Charest would have called an inquiry if he was guilty. The ominous warning that Bellemare alleges the Premier gave him (not to discuss the money and judges) just doesn't jive with the Premier's mannerisms. In real life Charest would have gotten someone else to give the warning.
In the Laval affair, we can be fairly certain of one thing, either Vallaincourt or Menard is a liar. No use putting it politely. I'll leave it to readers to guess who I think is the liar.
And so we can be fairly certain that in any construction inquiry, people will lie their asses off, oath or no oath. It seems that public inquiries no longer have the gravitas they once enjoyed. Have we already forgotten the ridiculous testimony offered in the Fredy Villanueva inquiry whereby one of the gangsters told one nose stretcher after another with nary an admonition by the judge.
Unless you're Guy Lafleur, you can tell the biggest lie without any sanction.
So instead of wasting time with inquiries that may ultimately prove nothing, perhaps I can offer a better solution.
Let's create a television game show called "Qui Dit Vrai?" (Who's telling the Truth)
We can get the ever lovely Julie Snyder (as long as her husband doesn't participate) to be host of the show where opponents will face off against each other.
- Charest versus Bellemare
- Vallaincourt versus Menard
- Tony Accurso versus ....er....pick'em..
"Did money influence the appointments of judges?"
"Did you lie about that meeting?"
"Did you offer an envelope of money?" etc. etc.
The lie detector tester would then make an oral report to a panel of three judges (any recommendations?) who would then vote as to who they believed told the truth.
The public, of course, would vote as well and the two scores would be combined and unveiled on a results show the next day. Need I go on?
If one of the antagonists refused the invitation to appear, the other will be deemed to have told the truth by default.
Loto-Quebec could create a betting line and allow the public to wager on the outcome, like they do on professional sports!
A TV show would be just as much fun as an inquiry and a helluva lot cheaper!
As an insurance policy against more corruption on city councils, how about this idea!