The media has a lot invested into the image of Jacques Duchesneau as a white knight in Quebec's ongoing construction scandal. The public, desperate to hear some good news, bought into the concept of Duchesneau as some sort of a lone wolf hero, battling the bad guys with the confidence, vim and vigour of Don Quixote.
So when he was 'fired,' the media and the public could accept no other theory than his betrayal was based on nothing less than the maleficence of those determined to derail his ongoing crusade against corruption, be it the government, the unions or the civil servants protecting their turf. Duchesneau fired
It's a good story, but much as I really like Jacques Duchesneau, it just isn't true.
What nobody in the media will dare say or print, is that Mr. Duchesneau engineered his own firing because he wasn't willing to give up his position as top dog.
When damaging accusations of corruption and mismanagement surfaced last year in regards to contracts issued by the Ministry of Transport (MTQ) (roadwork, bridges, infrastructure, etc.) and the alleged inappropriate chumminess that the department displayed with the engineering/consulting firms hired to manage these contracts, the Premier, under pressure, hired Mr. Duchesneau to put together an investigation team (Unité anti-collusion (UAC) of the ministère des Transports) to investigate if there actually was collusion between the Ministry, the engineering firms and those construction companies bidding on contracts.
The announcement of this fusion didn't sit well with Duchesneau or members of his team, who were hired as independent consultants on a contract basis.
Joining the government's permanent UPAC agency meant that they'd all have to interview for a job with the new agency and if successful, become civil servants under direct employ of the government,
Almost all the members of Duchesneau's team were ex-police collecting lucrative pensions. If they took the job with the government, they'd be double-dipping, that is, collecting a government pension while employed by the government.
As well, most didn't want to give up their independence, preferring to work on contract rather than going back to become regular full-time employees. Most didn't even apply for the job.
The same goes for Mr. Duchesneau, who was working on a two-year, $200,000 plus consulting contract, while collecting a $100,000 plus pension from his time as police chief of Montreal. It was a rather convenient work arrangement wherein he could keep his pension as an independent consultant, but where going back to be a direct employee of the government meant double-dipping.
But more importantly, going to work for UPAC meant giving up being boss and working for the unit's director, Robert Lafrenière an ex-deputy Minister and veteran police officer of the Sûreté du Québec. (the Quebec version of the OPP)
I can't for a minute see Jacques working under anybody, let alone an ex-police officer, who although highly placed, ranked lower in the Sûreté du Québec, than Duchesneau did in the Montreal police.
Having rubbed shoulders with senior members of the Montreal police while Jacques was Chief, I can tell readers that the Sûreté du Québec is held in utter disdain by the Montreal police, considered a Sad Sack organization of second rate, country bumpkins.
The idea that Jacques, who has been top dog wherever he has worked over the last fifteen years, would be working under Mr. Lafrenière, someone who he considers his subordinate, could never happen.
Mr. Lafrenière, was rightfully furious with Duchesneau for going public about his investigation of the MTQ and for telling reporters that the job of director of UPAC should be held by an ex-judge, not an ex-police officer. It was to say the least, insubordination.
He called Duchesneau into a meeting where he meant to lay down the law and show Duchesneau who was boss, but it was not to be. Link
No doubt, a recalcitrant Duchesneau was unyielding, forcing the directors hand, hence the firing.
And so as fate would have it, Mr. Duchesneau is portrayed as a hero and Mr. Lafrenière a bum, such is the narrative decided upon by the Press who have everything to lose by telling the truth.