Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Is Quebec City Mayor Melting Down?

A while back I wrote a rather glowing blog piece about the then popular mayor of Quebec City, Regis Lebeaume. LINK
Sadly, since then, it appears that the good mayor has developed some serious illusions of grandeur and has suffered a personality transformation.

Somewhere along the line Mr. Lebaume developed a God complex whereby he believes that he knows better than everyone. Anybody, who publicly opposes him or asks an uncomfortable question, whether that person be an elected official, city employee or news reporter is treated to a vicious tongue lashing and in some cases threatened with legal action.
Lebeaume and his political party have followed through with two lawsuits claiming that his reputation has been damaged. The thin-skinned mayor has sued a city councillor and the  president of the  union of municipal employees, both for $200,000. LINK{FR}
Questions about the chilling effects on democracy these lawsuits bring to the political arena are now being asked and rightfully so.

His bizarre and aggressive behaviour can be linked to his latest political setbacks and perhaps the real Regis is now manifesting itself, a nasty and vindictive, self-important tyrant.
He recently called city blue collar employees incompetents and cheats and even complained that seniors used too many city services without contributing enough taxes.

The new Regis Lebaume reminds me more and more of the old Montreal Mayor, Jean Drapeau, an unstable dreamer from another era who also became infatuated with himself, pursuing an unrealistic  Olympic dream that saddled Montreal with a crushing Olympic-sized debt for thirty years.
Can it be the Quebec amphitheater will become another white elephant which will end up costing hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars? 

The Quebec Olympic dream was a non-starter from the beginning and it's hard to understand how the press and the media went along with the fiction that Quebec could somehow change the reality that the city does not have a suitable mountain that passes the criteria for an Olympic downhill ski event.
The last time the city bid for the Olympics, the effort failed largely based on the mountain issue and so how a re-formulated bid including the same rejected mountain could possibly succeed is a testament to the self-deception that is the hallmark and dishonesty of the Quebec City Olympic bid. In fact back in June of last year, René Fasel, an influential member of the International Olympic Committee gave an interview where he said in  no uncertain terms that a Quebec bid was a non-starter. LINK{Fr}

The truth is likely that the Olympic bid was kept alive as a pretext in order to con the federal government into coughing up money to help build a new arena that would potentially attract an NHL franchise By maintaining the fiction that a new arena would help attract the Olympics, justification for a federal subsidy made some sort of sense.

When the latest Olympic bid was flushed down the toilet by the IOC, so early in the game, Lebaume's plan to involve Ottawa in the financing through the fiction of an Olympic bid, went out the window.
In a vain attempt to salvage things, he tried to resurrect the Olympic bid  in order to buy time, but the whole fiasco fell flat on its face as even the most ardent supporters knew that the jig was up.

And so for Lebeaume, it's off to Plan B, but not before cursing out the federal Conservatives for failing to cough up the money, telling reporters that the federal party had committed suicide in the Quebec City area, the only place in Quebec where they hold a modicum of support.

Counting on the local population's mindless lust for a NHL team, Lebeaume reformulated his plan to finance his arena with public money from Quebec alone.

It is here where Mr. Lebeaume goes the way of Jean Drapeau and embarks on a lunatic path that will see taxpayers pay for his arena folly.
And so taxpayers will finance an arena for the benefit of a private enterprise.

Even after the president of the NHL Gary Bettman told the city not to assume that a new arena would lead to a team, the mayor has pooh-poohed the warning and irresponsibly and incredibly continued on his merry way.

His latest move was to designate Pierre-Karl Péladeau the anointed son who has been given a virtual monopoly to negotiate on behalf of the city for any potential NHL franchise.

The city made a poor mans deal with the tycoon, which includes the naming rights for the new building.
This effectively shuts out all other bidders, who would in all likelihood refuse to bring a team to the city if they had to play in an arena named for another business.

It seems that Bettman dislikes the pushy Quebec city mayor something awful and like Jim Basille before him, putting undue pressure and bullying the league is exactly the wrong way to proceed.  

The fanatical pursuit of an NHL franchise on the backs of taxpayers doesn't seem to faze the mayor or local taxpayers at all and if Pierre-Karl Péladeau is the ultimate beneficiary, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, so be it.

This is bound to end badly, but what else is new. Today's dream is tomorrow's nightmare!

I can see Jean Drapeau looking down on all this (or up) shaking his head and mumbling...."Been there, done that!"


  1. Quote
    "...the federal party had committed suicide in the Quebec City area"

    Suicide! Well, I think it's us in Quebec who have committed suicide by backing this idiotic plan. The mayor of Quebec City is basically extending his political career by getting people in that city to believe in these dreams of his. But, when they wake up to his bullshit, the bills will still have to be paid. Shame on Premier Charest, and the Quebec Liberal party for squandering the publics' money.

    "Questions about the chilling effects on democracy these lawsuits bring to the political arena are now being asked and rightfully so."

    This point though is every serious. Elected public officials using the courts to silence credits is dangerous for any free society. If you don't want to be criticized, then you shouldn't be in politics nor hold a position in public office. We have a anti "Slap" law in Quebec. But we need to go further. Public officials need to know that they cannot silence the public. Do we want a fiefdom, or a democracy?

  2. This is just another billion dollar boondoggle in the making. Just remember how many DECADES it took to pay off the Olympic stadium??? Quebec could not support a baseball team and did not support a hockey team.Both teams left because they were NOT profitable to run in Quebec, thanks to many of of us English speakers who left the province with our money and support.... This has not changed one bit. This is a bankrupt, have-not; welfare province subsidized by the rest of the country, and has been for decades. Not to mention the racist, bigoted anti-English language laws a la bills 22, 178, 101…that the province enforces with Nazi like vigour…

    Be smart Bettman, this province does not deserve a team, nor can it afford a team.

    Bill 101 bigots, bill 101...$$$

  3. You think this newspaper deserves a team of 4 english separatists, a speakeasy for english only, xenophobes and hitlerism anglophony ?

  4. "You think this newspaper deserves a team of 4 english separatists, a speakeasy for english only, xenophobes and hitlerism anglophony ?"

    What in God's name are you talking about

  5. Are you always that lost ?

  6. "Are you always that lost ?"

    By all means, offer an explanation for what that travesti of a sentence could possibly be talking about. Or is it too much to ask that you back up anything you say?