I wasn't surprised at the reaction to Monday's blog piece where I told readers that Quebec was well on the road to becoming the least corrupt province in the country.
Admittedly, it was a bold prediction that few are willing to entertain in these dark days of humiliating revelations and arrests of politicians in high places.
It's understandable that going from the most corrupt to the least corrupt province is a concept hard to wrap one's head around, but like the Montreal Canadiens who went from last place to first place in their NHL division, sometimes change happens virtually overnight.
There isn't any doubt that Quebecers have lived under the jackboot of systemic corruption ever since the Duplessis years and so it's hard to fathom that we can make such a fundamental shift so quickly, but we can, and sometimes change can only occur through a sudden and profound paradigm shift.
For those who believe that Quebecers are too complacent to demand an end to corruption I can only say that it is no longer the case.
Premier Jean Charest was forced into calling the Charbonneau Commission not because of pressure from the opposition parties but by regular voters and most importantly, members of his own constituency.
The public clamored for action and the government had absolutely no option but to acquiesce. When revelations about corruption surfaced in the Montreal suburb of Mascouche implicating the mayor, regular citizens invaded city hall and forced out of office what was a recalcitrant and stubborn mayor Richard Marcotte.
Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay was drummed out of office by public pressure as was the Mayor of Laval.
Every single mayor and town council in the province is under the strictest scrutiny by an energized public which has discovered that they can demand transparency and effect change.
Leading the charge is UPAC(Unité permanente anticorruption), the special police unit formed by the Charest government to root out corruption on any level. Styled after the New York City anti-corruption unit, the Department of Investigation, UPAC employs 200 people and enjoys a budget of 30 million dollars a year.
After just two years, the unit has already taken down over 100 crooks, from politicians to construction magnates to professionals, politicians and public servants.
These results have been nothing less than spectacular and like shooting fish in a barrel, the unit has arrested and charged so many that heads are spinning.
It seems that these thieves were so blasé about stealing that they didn't even bother hiding their tracks effectively.
And so they fall like dominoes, bewildered and befuddled that their house of corruption has finally been brought down.
The utter contempt that UPAC displays for those they catch was manifestly displayed at the humiliating arrest accorded to Quebec's most powerful mayor, Michael Applebaum. It speaks to the confidence that UPAC has in itself and speaks to the support that the public has for the work it is conducting.
In fact UPAC toyed with Applebaum, privately letting him know that an arrest was imminent. He was clearly out of sorts in the days leading up to his arrest, in fact giving a disjointed and convoluted speech days ahead of his arrest.
It has sent a frightening signal to those not yet caught, underlining clearly that their time is soon up and that justice is coming for them in the not too distant future in the form of a humiliating knock on the door at six in the morning.
I can imagine that a lot of crooks are sleeping rather poorly these days.
I am reliably informed that there is a parade of confessors lining up before UPAC to cut a deal by ratting out co-conspirators.
Plainly this has happened with Applebaum because while he was charged with corruption, his alleged partners in crime were not, even though their names have been publicly revealed.
I have also been reliably informed that government departments are sharpening their defenses and now independent department proctors are sitting in on planning meetings where details are discussed between construction companies and government officials.
We are going to witness many more arrests before this is over, but the tide has turned.
I don't believe that the most seasoned and cynical journalists understand what is happening, their experiences of the past, colouring their reading of the situation today.
The forces unleashed are unstoppable, politicians couldn't call off the dogs even if they wanted to, lest they become a target of UPAC themselves.
For we the public, it is a spectacle that we should sit back and enjoy, because short of sending the crooks into the coliseum to do battle with the lions, it's the best serving of revenge that we can expect.
Let's not feel bad or humiliated, let's feel empowered and brave.
While the rest of Canada may tut-tut, the truth is they have plenty of their own crooks to deal with and no political will or UPAC to do battle for them.
I know of a couple of Ontarto mayors that well deserve the UPAC treatment, including Mister Sauga's favorite mayor Hazel McCallion.
As one commenter in the New York Times wrote under a story describing Applebaum's arrest;
"At least they arrest their crooks"