|Would you buy a used car from this guy?|
Such is Blanchet's oily reputation, notwithstanding the lawsuits and threatening letters he uses to mitigate the perception that he is one sharp practitioner.
It isn't surprising that Blanchet has been hidden from view during this last election campaign and although a devoted and committed spouse is de riguer during a successful campaign, Pauline has wisely left her albatross at home, preferring not to remind the public who she is married to and the controversy that surrounds him.
Claude Blanchet is in fact one of the major reasons that the PQ campaign fizzled so badly, the controversy over the famous 'deal or no deal' that surrounded him at the Charbonneau Commission cut the legs off of the PQ strategy to run the campaign over the issue of corruption, the same strategy that propelled the PQ to office the last time around.
But Philippe Couillard warned Pauline early on that if she was going to make unsubstantiated corruption allegations against him or the Liberal party, he would return the favour and dredge up Blanchet's past and his alleged involvement in influence-peddling on behalf of Quebec's largest union, the FTQ.
The PQ campaign melted down for more reasons than just Blanchet, the arrival of PKP and the resurrection of the referendum debate was absolutely toxic, with voters turning away from Marois and PKP as if they were carrying a case of Ebola virus, but make no mistake, Blanchet cost the PQ the ethics card.
For those who haven't been apprised of recent developments, the ever shit-disturbing journalist, Alain Gravel of Radio-Canada, ran a story that alleged that Blanchet collected funds from an engineering firm for Pauline's leadership campaign, promising access to the leader should she win.
"Claude Blanchet, the husband of Parti Québécois Leader Pauline Marois, is denying a Radio-Canada report that says he solicited a $25,000 political contribution from a Montreal-area businessman for his wife’s leadership bid.The story reported that the $25,000 in donations came from the firm itself, which collected cheques from employees and then reimbursed the money afterwards. This of course, to remain within the law which limits the amount an individual may contribute.
The report by investigative reporter Alain Gravel for the Radio-Canada program Enquête quotes an affidavit from a businessman with a long history in Montreal’s engineering sector dated March 25, 2014. " Link
The story was supported by an affidavit sworn by the businessman who made the allegations. You can see the affidavit HERE
But for those with no French, I've taken the liberty to translate it below;
Pauline first tried to spin the whole affair as payback from anonymous victims of her anti-corruption campaign. Blanchet flatly denied the allegation, saying it never happened, but the anonymous allegation became more real when two individuals from AXOR, the engineering firm involved, stepped forward on Wednesday and identified themselves as having been used as prête-noms (proxies) for the illegal donations.
I blank domiciled and resident of blank in the Province of Quebec, declare solemnly that;
- I blank the blank of the engineering firm blank
- I knew Mr. Claude Blanchet for at least fifteen(15) years, from when he was president of the Société générale de financement and spent time with him at social and charitble events.
- In the Spring of 2007, I knew that Mr. Claude Blanchet was the husband of Madame Pauline Marois;
- At that time, in 2007, after the announcement of André Boisclair's departure and in the framework of an eventual leadership campaign of the Parti Quebecois, Mr. Claude Blanchet met me at my Montreal office ( blank ) and solicited me for a $25,000 donation.
- I then asked my organization to get me $25,000 in cheques from different donors, of which none were to exceed $3,000 per contributor.
- I then met Blanchet again in my office a few weeks later and placed in his hands directly, an envelope containing the contribution cheques totalling the aforementioned amount of $25,000.
- The principle reason for my implication in this fundraising activity was to gain privileged access to Madame Pauline Marois and I did use this privileged contact by way of Claude Blanchet.
- All these alleged facts in this affidavit are true to my personal knowledge.
"Two engineering-consulting group executives have gone on the record, saying their names were used illegally to hide to source of political contributions made to Marois' leadership bid in 2007.
Jacques Grenier, the CEO of Axor, and Maurice Choquette, internal auditor, have told Le Soleil newspaper that though their names appear on Marois' 2007 donor list, the money did not really come from them.For Blanchet, his rash decision to deny that he collected the money may come back to haunt him, the facts are easy enough to verify.
According to Le Soleil, Grenier says he and his colleagues used a system of fake names to fund Marois' bid, though he says he never met with Marois' husband, Claude Blanchet." Link
Had he taken a moment to consider his alternatives, he might well have admitted taking the money, but in good faith that the money was raised ethically, from different donors. After all, if it happened as alleged in the affidavit, it wasn't him who actually broke the law, but the company that passed along the illegal money. Blanchet could have successfully feigned ignorance as to the provenance of the money.
Of all the mud flung so far in this election campaign, this is the unkindest cut of all, because the unlikable Blanchet is a target that nobody dares defend.
This time Blanchet will have to face the music, he cannot send mis-en-demures in an attempt to silence the critics, those involved are ready to stare down the bully, seemingly confident in their facts.
No way Radio-Canada would let so damaging a story go to air so late in the campaign without having the facts in order.
And so nothing has gone right for the PQ this election and as time winds down, a desperate Pauline continues to go off message to her and the party's detriment.
A PQ candidate running in a riding she has no chance of winning, made an egregious gaffe in stating that if a Doctor refused to take off his kippa, he would lose his job after the year of transition that the charter of Values would provide.
It was a singularly stupid thing to say, considering that the debate where she made the comments was held before a decidedly hostile Vanier College audience.
Compounding the error, Pauline then defended the statement as true, confirming that people would indeed lose their jobs over the Charter, an assertion that cemented her appearance as a heartless fanatic and ideologue.
This was the second time in a week that Pauline defended the indefensible. You'll recall her standing up supporting Janette Bertrand after the unfortunate Rich/ Muslim Fundamentalist/McGill Students fiasco.
It's over. As the old saying goes....Stick a fork in Pauline, she's done.
William Marsden of the Montreal Gazette wrote an exposé on Claude Blanchet and how he and Pauline built their home on public land.
Blanchet sued for defamation, but settled for nothing.
The Gazette has pulled that article, but interestingly it lives on at vigile.net
How estate was built on public, farm lands
or go HERE for a bunch of stories over the land deal.