|A PICTURE TO REMEMBER!|
No politician deserves such an ignominious fall from grace more than the duplicitous, back-stabbing opportunist that defines the persona of Gilles Duceppe.
As you can imagine, I'm no fan, not so much for his separatist politics, but rather for his proclivity to bite the hand that feeds him.
We Canadians have paid his Parliamentary salary for over twenty years and now are obliged to pay his 140k pension until God knows when, during which time, he has and will continue to tell the world that we Canadians are exploiters and colonialists.
The ethics scandal that has brought him down is particularly satisfying because it was Gilles Duceppe and the Bloc Quebecois that presented himself and itself as more Cathoic than the Pope.
Two elections ago, the Bloc campaigned on the platform of honesty and integrity and so there's a sense that Duceppe is receiving his just desert.
Like a pious televangelist who is ruined when caught cheating and whoring, it sets the world right, for a moment, anyways.
My favorite comment on the affair by a Le Devoir reader;
"Duceppe l’arroseur arrosé, Youppi" (Duceppe the sprinkler, sprinkled)
Unethical or illegal, Duceppe displayed the shady behavior of a disgruntled employee who steals from the company where he works, while continuing to cash a cheque.
Whether guilty or innocent of using public funds for partisan political ends, it doesn't really matter.
Despite a spirited defense put on for him by Le Devoir and assorted hardliners, wherein they claimed that he technically violated no rules, the public has already made up its mind......Guilty.
Mr. Duceppe didn't exactly help his cause, his actions after the revelations were made, were those of a guilty man.
I am reminded of a story told to me a while back when I participated in a golf tournament put on by the Montreal police. A senior Montreal detective regaled our table at the 19th hole with a story about the down and dirty investigative methods employed by cops.
In this particular case two suspects were picked up for a crime that only one committed. They were both placed in jail overnight having been told they'd be charged in the morning.
Overnight the cops observed their behavior.
The first suspect was agitated and angry, demanding a lawyer and telling all who would listen that he was innocent.
The second suspect remained calm, asked warders for a cigarette and turned in early, sleeping quite well.
In the morning the detective let the agitated suspect go and charged the other.
You see, as my detective friend explained, the behavior exhibited by the men, clearly indicated that one was innocent, the other guilty.
The first, furious that he was being charged with a crime he did not commit, the second resigned to the fact that he was caught.
Who did Gilles Duceppe closely emulate, the guilty suspect or the innocent?
There are politicians around the world charged with crimes or accused of various misdeeds who almost universally fight the charges tooth and nail while remaining in office. It's par for the course.
Silvio Berlusconi spent his whole political career under an ethics cloud and never wavered. a good chunk of the Israeli cabinet is under scrutiny for either ethics violations or outright criminality. American senators and congressmen are regularly subject to impeachment through a process that takes years to play out.
Who resigns? Practically nobody.
Mr Duceppe cut and run, hoping that if he left the political scene, perhaps he would be left alone.
Had he come out and raged against the allegations against him, labeling the charges as partisan attacks, I'm sure that he could have withstood the attack, but Duceppe is a chocoladnicky, a Russian expression for someone apt to melt under the heat.
Now there are those who say that Duceppe used the ethics investigation as a convenient device to extricate himself from a sticky situation where his attempted coup against Pauline Marois failed.
I find it a little hard to believe, but no matter.
His attempt to take over the leadership was a half-assed effort that was so badly planned and executed that I seriously question his skills as a politician.
Once he embarked on his betrayal of Marois and she got wind of it, she put the mutiny down in short order.
The incredible thing about it all, is that if he had done nothing and remained on the sidelines as a 'loyal' separatist, Marois would have collapsed under her own weight and the leadership would have come to him without lifting a finger!
All this has led me to conclude that Duceppe was no brainiac, but rather an opportunist who talked up a storm but was always out manoeuvred by the Prime Minister of the day or Pauline Marois back home. Readers will remember that this is the second time she beat back an attempt by Duceppe to take over the PQ.
Over the twenty odd years in Ottawa, the Bloc led by Duceppe brought Quebec not an iota of benefit, in fact, its very presence insured the opposite.
In asking Quebecers to support a party riding the pine of ignominy, in the opposition benches of Parliament, the Bloc robbed Quebecers of representation in cabinet and the halls of power, a frightful price to pay for the luxury of thumbing ones nose at the hated Anglos in the RoC.
I'm glad that Gilles Duceppe is going out a disgraced loser, because that was what he was his whole career, a disgrace who cost Quebec influence and power, a humiliating presence in Ottawa that rendered Quebec impotent and irrelevant.
His phony Don Quixotesque act, tilting at federalist windmills has crippled this province incalculably.
As he exits the stage a disgraced and beaten man, it remains a bittersweet victory for federalists.
After all, we will have the pleasure of paying him a handsome pension for the rest of his natural life.
The idea of Gilles Duceppe in retirement, sipping margaritas in Aruba, on our dime, while lobbing the occasional separatist bomb at we evil Canadians, remains a bitter pill to swallow.
Good riddance to bad rubbish!