Monday, June 13, 2011

Denis de Belleval -Quebec's Most Hated Man

You'd never know it looking at the photo of Denis de Belleval that he's now probably the most hated man in Quebec. The mild-mannered, soft-spoken ex-civil servant is the paragon of calm, reasoned and lucid reasoning and perhaps that is why he is so disliked.

Mr. De Belleval is an ex-Quebec city manager who has taken exception to the under the table deal that Mayor Regis Lebeaume struck with media scion Pierre-Karl Péladeau, in relation to the proposed new arena in Quebec City.
Mr. De Belleval has unleashed, by way of his threatened lawsuit which would challenge the legality of the deal, a series of improbable and cascading events which has shaken the political foundations of the Parti Quebecois. For an excellent explanation of the whole affair watch the video report by CTV Montreal HERE{Eng}

There's little doubt that Mayor Regis Lebeaume pulled a fast one in signing the deal with Quebecor without calling for tenders as required by municipal law, hoping that in the frenzied anticipation for a new NHL team, nobody would contest the faux pas.
But somebody did and when De Belleval made noises about challenging the deal in court Lebeaume scurried to his friends in the PQ to help him insulate the deal by way of a private members bill that would shield the city from any such litigation.
As we all know, that didn't turn out well for Lebeaume and the PQ and the failure of the Bill to pass in Parliament has allowed the lawsuit to go forward, much to the chagrin of arena supporters.
This has unleashed a torrent of hate and nastiness,  directed at Mr. De Belleval for his audacity to challenge the collective will of arena supporters. While one would expect the comments sections under related news articles to be filled with vitriolic denunciations, what is shocking is the virulent and nasty criticism levied upon Mr. DeBelleval in the mainstream press.
I've seen a lot of angry denunciations in my time, but this one, by Albert Ladouceur of the Journal de Quebec,  has to take the cake. The level of anger and hate is beyond the pale and is usually reserved for war criminals and serial killers;

The vicious hypocrisy of hate
"Removing the mask of Denis Belleval unveils the face of the vicious hypocrisy of a former politician and civil servant who is waging a personal and acrimonious war on the backs of the whole population.

Belleval hates mayor Régis Labeaume to the depths of his soul....
.. His press release yesterday betrays contempt for Quebecor and the NHL.....

...This man has never been motivated by a sincere desire to defend democracy.

... By his arrogant attitude, his pretentious speech, this character places himself in a position of vulnerability from individuals who do not always express their feelings of frustration and anger in a civilized manner.

As patronizing as an aristocrat from a royal court, De Belleval, CEO of the city during the era when the Nordiques of 1995 left town, he ignores the desire of the majority of Quebecers. He is trampling on the will of citizens who support the construction of an arena and a return of the NHL. He does not listen to them. He hears only himself.

By removing his mask, De Belleval positions himself squarely against the efforts of a major local company to bring the NHL to Quebec City. He has vomited on Bettman and the NHL and all professional sports.

He calls the NHL "an industry so badly managed that the majority of its members are virtually bankrupt. Only the use of public funding allows them to survive.... "

According to De Belleval, "the slavish and destructive pursuit of a professional franchise is undermining the social fabric of many cities in the world and regularly gives rise to public finance disasters."....

...Those who support him may discover in him a destructive and narcissistic tendency, rather than the need to carry the torch of democracy.   LINK{FR}
Wow! The writer actually warns that Mr. de Belleval has put his life in danger!

Here is another pretty vicious attack, this time by Jean-Jacques Samson, again in the Journal de Quebec;

Eastern Quebec supprots the arena project massively
"The allegations by Denis de Belleval on Regis Labeaume, Quebecor and the NHL displays  staggering and contemptuous rage..
His vicious attack is packed with innuendo, malicious references to possible criminal acts or irregularities, of favouritism in the negotiations between the City of Quebec and Quebecor, as we have witnessed in recently in other municipalities.....
M. Belleval makes unfair and derogatory judgments about mayor Régis Labeaume and Quebecor Media, which he associates with corporate welfare bums....
...M. Belleval is discredited by his emotional, offensive and unreasonable accusations.
The  right arm of the former mayor Jean-Paul L'Allier, is in a particularly poor position to criticize anyone, company or individual, having just been removed from the government. His entire career has been spent, with the exception of a brief interlude from 1983 to 1985 , working for the government He has benefited from personal acquaintances with Brian Mulroney, Lucien Bouchard, and friends in an old boys network from the University of Laval."
The author then goes on to a lengthy description of the government largess that Mr. de Belleval benefited from including numerous soft appointments to government jobs and several golden parachutes.

"...Should we then speak of civilian welfare bums to designate members of this small oligarchy which distributes among themselves the positions of power? ...
..I fail to understand what De Belleval seeks, perhaps an escalation of litigation? An old Breton proverb says, that he who pisses into the wind will rinse his teeth." LINK{FR}

Here's one more denunciation from the same article, this time by Jérôme Landry, of 'Nordiques Nation,' a lobby group set up to promote the return of an NHL team to Quebec.

"He knows nothing and it takes up too much public space. He alone knows what is good for society. It is a pretentious position. What is wrong with listening to what people want? I do not know by what right he can put a spoke in the wheels of an important project for Quebec. It's snobbery. He looks down on all that the middle class enjoys. He's a 'dinosaur' according to Regis Labeaume. "This generation of politicians and officials cost Quebecers a lot.

 It is those like him who are responsible for deficits and debt. It is those like him who have created financial problems in Quebec. The generation of the 80s. He's in no position to lecture anyone. I 'd like him to clarify the severance packages he received for his work in the public sector. The author of all that has happened, Denis Belleval put his personal political agenda before the public interest of the taxpayers of Quebec." LINK{FR}

And so the attacks on Mr. de Belleval, mostly ad hominem  display a rage rarely seen in the press. The arena issue and Mr. de Belleval's unwelcomed interference has so enraged the local Quebec City press that all manner of scorn has rained down upon him and the fact that he seems to relish the attention further exacerbates the controversy.

But Mr. De Belleval is not the only one to feel the public's rage in the arena affair. Amir Khadir, the hitherto untouchable member of the Quebec Solidaire, who despite his numerous controversial positions has never really had the shine taken off his apple, is now perceived by 37% of Quebeckers as the chief instigator of opposition to the Quebec City arena.
Through thick and thin Khadir has maintained his personal popularity, but it now seems that it is limited to his constituency in the Plateau Mont-Royal in Montreal. Mr. Khadir, who has attacked, big business, rich people, Israel, the United States, and Canada in the past, much to the indifference of Quebeckers, miscalculated when he attacked hockey.
Now that's something that Quebeckers will just not cotton to!

His position against the arena has badly hurt the chances of his party in the next election and its chance to elect members outside the island of Montreal. A poll in Le Devoir on Saturday pegged the QS support down to 9%, just enough to hurt the PQ through vote-splitting, but not really enough to elect any members aside from Khadir.
Thank-you, Mr. Khadir!

As summer is upon us, I'm going to take a semi-break by publishing just three times week, MONDAY, WEDNESDAY and FRIDAY, until September.

I do hope you'll continue to drop by!


  1. I can appreciate those vitriolic newspaper reporters for criticizing de Belleval the way the chose to because he has been the beneficiary of political largesse that is especially typical in Quebec (but, in all fairness, not exclusively).

    Be that as it may, when the man is right, he's right. To date, Bettman has promised nothing, but I suppose the Quebec City public has swallowed the cliché "If you build it, they will come". Because so many NHL teams are in trouble, especially in the Sun Belt, Bettman will grant the franchise with a building and an enthusiastic fan base in place. Salary capping, like in Winnipeg, will make it easier for small market teams to re-enter the market...that is, unless and until the our dollar declines to 65 cents US again. I don't think that will happen for sometime to come, but it probably will.

    Anyway, I partially agree with the newspaper articles, but not with how toxically it was written based on how de Belleval has leached off the fat of the land (what fat?).

  2. À Mr. Sauga: ''gesse that is especially typical in Quebec (but, in all fairness, not exclusively).'' Comment pouvez-vous affirmer que c'est typique ? Quelles sont vos sources ? Vous avez une étude sur le sujet ? Encore des jugements remplis de préjugés ! Ça se dit exempt de discrimination...

  3. Anon @ 8:33pm: How many public and parapublic workers in Quebec work until 65? 60? How many go on sick leave for the allowable two years on full salary insurance, come back for a week or less than take off another two years? In how many jobs can you take a year off paid 80% of your regular and "pay back" by working the next four years at 80% of your salary? Only in the Quebec public and parapublic sectors, that's where! I KNOW two in the parapublic sector who retired long before age 65, get their FULL RREGOP public pension that is more than what I earn in the private sector working full time, and RREGOP is fully indexed every year according to the cost of living.

    MNAs in Quebec are entitled to a fully indexed pension after just five years in office, and they get FULL pension after 15 years. I do know de Belleval worked at one point for Via Rail and I'm sure he landed on a golden parachute, and that was after being an MNA for nine years. He got 45% of his pay the day after he was defeated back in December 1985, and has been collecting a fully indexed benefit for the last almost 26 years.

    Seems everybody involved in government in Quebec gets in on the gravy, esp if they stay in government long enough. Between the platinum-plated pension MNAs get and the gold-plated RREGOP plan, Quebeckers are already paying a pretty penny to support people who sitting on their fat asses making more than working people in the private sector--MUCH MORE!

    No anon, no!!! I'm not hypothesizing, just stating the facts, and what I haven't written on the subject, MacLean's and plenty of French publications already have, and a whole lot more, too!! No prejudgments, anon, FACTS!!!

  4. Mr. Sauga said...
    "unless and until the our dollar declines to 65 cents US again"

    Will only happen IF currencies are once again
    backed by gold (ie. gold standard - which Nixon
    killed) as the BOC gold holdings are comparable
    with Bangledash and Cambodia. We started dumping
    our gold back in the 80s.


  5. @ DD

    Actually real estate in Canada is at a bubble. High Dollar has a chokehold on manufacturing. Also like canadian real estate oil is due for a correction. So if oil plummets to around 50-60 dollars a barrel and real estate tanks at the same time, it won't take long for canadian dollar to go under 75 cents. It was only a few years ago the dollar went to mid 70s from over 1.10 US.

  6. @anon 10:04 AM

    Agree on real estate, oil not so much. Peak
    oil theory says the price will only go up.

    A dropping oil price is only plausible if the US quits devalueing their currency. As they
    can't, both supply and US monetary policy pre-
    clude the possibilty of cheaper oil.

    Never fall into the "ugly sister" contest
    between currencies (my dollar is better than
    yours). Purchasing power of your dollar is
    what matters. If you price your home in gold
    (for example) you've lost 80% of your equity
    in the last decade. All paper is fiat.


  7. @10:37 AM,

    Unfortunately GOLD itself is traded as a commodity. Gold itself is at historical highs. Oil and Gold are mirroring 1982 where gold and oil both collapsed after a major peak and stayed low until relatively recently. Similar situation, of high US defict and debt. Oil shocks.

    Whatever the case, not sure how that scenario would effect Quebec politics. One constant would be the continue "GIMME MONEY" by Quebec to get a better deal then the rest of Canada.

  8. "One constant would be the continue "GIMME MONEY" by Quebec to get a better deal then the rest of Canada."

    Amen to that.


  9. @ 12:57

    Gold (and silver) are only at records if you
    don't adjust for inflation. Silvers' record was
    $50 in 1980, adjusted for inflation (todays
    dollars) it s/b about $165.

    Gold may be traded as a commodity but it is
    real money, kind of a barometer of a currencies'
    health. The difference between now an 1982 is
    exactly that (currency debasement).

    As the dollar drops in purchasing power there
    will be zero largese (or tolerance) on the part
    of Canada for Quebecs' wastefull bullshit (a
    "silver" lining).

    Canada's dollar is backed by other currencies
    (not gold) and therefore will drop as the
    others do.


  10. DD: (1) It is unlikely currencies will go back on the gold standard again; besides, gold is just a commodity like any other. Platinum is worth more, and I figure the ratio of silver:gold will increase on the price of silver over time as silver has more industrial uses, but that will be a slow, gradual creep.

    (2) Oil may have some ups and downs, but you can draw a progression line right through the ups and downs, i.e., oil will continually go up. Supply is finite, the easy to access oil is mostly depleted and accessibility is becoming more difficult and expensive. The number of automobiles in the world is increasing with the increasing wealth of India and China (other countries too, but their populations are off the charts, and it looks as if China will be coming off the one-child-per-couple policy soon), so with a population and affluence increase, that will put a strain on resources.

    (3) Even the cost of chocolate is going up because Indians and Chinese are eating it more as it becomes more affordable for them.

    Remember how the cost of staples went up a few years ago (i.e., rice, potatoes, grains, etc)? This will happen again as we get further into the year because of last year's ruined crops in Russia especially. It put a strain on wheat and other grain supplies. Too, the cost of transporting food will go up with oil prices. Oranges and cabbages are round, but they don't roll onto the shelves! The enduring cool spring and floods in Manitoba and Quebec too will have an effect on food prices grown locally.

    Life just isn't getting easier!

  11. @Mr. Sauga

    1. Has to,otherwise there is nothing to stop
    the endless expansion of the monetary supply.
    Some countries, through their cenral banks, are
    already preparing for the return.

    3. Prices will continue to rise as long as the
    US continues to export inflation (through the
    devalued currency).


  12. Votre article est aussi tendancieux que ceux que vous décrier. aucune crédibilité!!