To most people in Quebec, the name Robyn Doolittle means very little.
However, they have heard of her work – busting Toronto mayor Rob Ford for smoking crack.
Many left-of-center Torontonians consider her a “hero” of sorts for outing the nasty habits of a man who is supposed to be setting an example for Canada’s flagship city.
Others can clearly see through Doolittle’s veneer of “journalistic justice” and call it for what it is – crass opportunism.
As some are now less than aware, the infamous crack video was not just viewed by Doolittle, but also by her fellow reporter at the Toronto Star, Kevin Donovan.
The reason you don’t hear so much about Donovan is because he felt his job was done after breaking the news.
Not so for Doolittle.
She spent the next six months stalking Rob Ford at his home until she had enough footnotes scribbled on napkins to put together a book.
Not even a month after her book was published, she sold the film rights to a movie production company.
Where would Doolittle’s career be had Ford not indulged in smoking the little white rocks?
Chances are, she would have found another mark to ride to the top.
OK, enough with opportunists in Ontario, let’s shift our focus to the Quebec version.
Like many other Montreal residents, I lost a lot of sleep in 2012, thanks to ‘enfant roi’ brigade which was led by the likes of Martine Desjardins, Léo Bureau-Blouin and Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois.
For months this trio doled out the leftist rhetoric to their adoring flock of sheep who gleefully followed them through the streets without ever questioning them and turning the province into a laughing stock.
Not only were the members of the ‘enfant roi’ brigade given a free pass to turn the city of Montreal on it’s head over a tuition increase that amounted to little more than 69 cents a day, they were celebrated by media figures such as Guy LePage, who invited them onto his show, Tout Le Monde En Parle.
And I guess that would have been the cinch.
Tasting the adoration of the public eye and being invited to do radio spots and pen guest articles for newspapers was far too seductive to let go of and just move on.
No, you can’t be doing that.
Léo Bureau-Blouin was the first to forsake his street-cred in exchange for a plush office job at the age of 21.
Martine DesJardins would hesitate a bit, preferring to bankroll her public image in the private sector.
I guess she must either have realized that her potential for reaching new heights on the corporate ladder in the Francophone media were limited or she got a call from her buddy Léo, who must have told her “you have to get a piece of this action, it’s so sweet.”
Anyone who has any doubts about DesJardins taking the plunge and joining the PQ ranks is sadly misguided.
I personally believe that any reticence she’s feeling now has to do with the public dredging up soundbites and statements from the past that will taint her as a hypocrite, but it’s only a matter of time until the PQ’s pr team schools her on how to shed one’s conscience and push forward.
My question to you is, what is it about Quebec politics that is so seductive to opportunists?
Ontario MPPs earn about $130K per year (median between base and cabinet) whereas the average Quebec MNA is pulling south of $88K per year. So it’s not really the money – especially with the taxes they’ll have to fork out for that salary.
Could it be that the only way to truly make it in Quebec is by pledging allegiance to a party and leveraging it’s power to your own advantage?
Could it be that by doing as Boisclair did, you never have to worry whether or not you actually succeed in politics – there’s a very lucrative life outside of the spectrum if you know how to tug on the right strings.
I seriously am beginning to wonder.
Quebec has done such a fine job of closing itself off to the outside world that the only option to go “up” in life is by doing it from the inside and that’s what sets Quebec opportunists apart from those in the ROW.
Doolittle never had to spend a single day campaigning for office to secure a top rung on the ladder.