This morning, UPAC arrested 7 high-ranking politicians, including former Quebec Deputy Premier Nathalie Normandeau on charges of fraud, corruption and abuse of public trust:
The group of seven, which includes people associated with the provincial Liberals and the Parti Québécois, were arrested shortly after 6 a.m. on Thursday in Quebec City, Charlevoix and the Gaspésie, UPAC chief Robert Lafrenière said.
[ . . . ]
Others arrested are: former Liberal cabinet minister Marc-Yvan Côté, Normandeau’s former chief of staff, Bruno Lortie, Roche engineering employees Mario Martel and France Michaud, as well as Ernest Murray, a former political attaché to former Premier Pauline Marois and François Roussy, former mayor of the town of Gaspé.
The discussions being sparked in social media as a result of this are interesting. Corruption has long been assumed to be a part of most political processes, especially here in Quebec. The long, drawn-out Charbonneau Commission was met by the population with a shrug, probably because many of its so-called “shocking” revelations were things that everyone pretty much knew but nobody openly acknowledged. Our politicians abuse party fundraising, cozy up to organized crime, and fix bidding contracts in exchange for kickbacks? That discussion is as old and tired as the endless debate about the Cavendish extension.
Of course, anger over corruption does tend to flare up on occasion. The student-initated “Maple Spring” gave voice to a general anger against the Charest-led Liberals, which ultimately brought down the government and ushered in 18 turbulent months of Marois-led PQ rule. That time period was so fraught, so divisive, such an ugly chapter in Quebec’s recent history that it still gives me the chills. I’m no fan of the Liberals — they’ve always been a hold-your-nose-and-vote party — but I also have absolutely no desire to return to debates about kippas and headscarves, identity politics, or whether Muslims in Quebec deserve the same rights as the rest of us.
And so when I see people — particularly PQ supporters — gleefully greeting the news of more Liberal corruption, I have to wonder: Would you prefer your political leaders to be corrupt or evil?
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