That’s all I can say right now.
I’m completely flabbergasted by the news recently revealed by the Quebec media concerning Jean Charest and Pauline Marois.
Turns out that after Marois defeated Charest in the 2012 election, they put together a plan…and not just any plan – we’re talking about one of them movie-plot quality hooks that made this plan a very nefarious one.
The deal was this: Charest would open the door to (excessively) generous post-office funding to former premiers. Marois was more than happy to oblige.
End result: These two career-politicians tried to pull one over on tax-payers and damn-near got away with it (but they were not the only ones – keep reading).
It all started when the JdM was trying to get more information on why Dominique Payette (Parizeau’s step-daughter) snagged a $24K research contract from Pauline Marois.
Right now, you’re probably telling yourself, “meh, no surprise there, just a politician using her clout to help out her friend”
You see, while that does indeed happen all the time, there was something very fishy about this Payette’s research contract — it was issued to her by Marois AFTER the PQ had been defeated and removed from office.
And YOU paid for it. 🙂
And you thought the Charbonneau commission was going to clean all that shit up too, didn’t you?
Ah, and now, you’re probably telling yourself, “Couillard will clean this up and put an end to it.”
If this were any other province, peut–être…but this is Quebec y’all, the land that logic and common sense had long ago forsaken.
See, shortly after leaving office, Parizeau was up to the same shenanigans. He was constantly shuttling back and force between his private vineyard in France and Quebec on the taxpayer’s dime.
Lucien Bouchard, who had just taken the helm and was trying to clean up the state’s finances, disagreed with Parizeau’s lavish lifestyle and cut it off and supposedly “sealed off the valves”.
Apparently, Bouchard had weak wrists, because it didn’t take much twisting for not only Charest and Marois to reward themselves with a filthy lucre, but there is another former premier involved (coming up in a sec…).
So far, Jean Charest has billed taxpayers close to $370K since leaving office. Oui, since leaving office.
These “transitional” expenses are supposed to cover moving, the rental of an office, “transitional staff” as well as a security driver for three years.
What I’m about to tell you is really going to piss you off (you know, if you work for a living and that kinda shit…):
Just the office furniture and phone bill (less than three years of use) come out to $42K.
What really leaves me scratching my head however is this: why is the taxpayer paying for Charest’s office rent when he’s a partner at a private law firm?
Which brings us to that the third former-premier I told you about who got to use tax payers money to live it up rock-star style: Bernard Landry.
There’s a limit I can say about Charest and Marois – I don’t know them and don’t spend any time with them.
Different story with Bernie.
I used to work in the same law firm as Bernard Landry.
While all the other lawyers and paralegals in the firm were constantly fluttering about, getting documents processed and expedited, meeting with partners and clients alike all throughout out the day…
…Landry would spend his day reading magazines.
Sometimes, as I’d pass his office, his feet (I’m not shitting you here) were kicked up on his desk — at an internationally-recognized law firm.
I ran this by a lawyer in my family and he told me that a lot of former politicians with legal pedigrees were hired by firms post-office, just for show.
That’s it. They were picked up merely for name brand points, nothing more.
So I looked into it and sure as hell, in the time Landry was in political office, his membership in the bar had expired and he could no longer legally practice law – he really was there only for show and…YOU were paying for this show.
Landry got many of the same perks as Charest and Marois and in total had gotten the state to cover almost $140K of his post-political expenses. I should also note that around the same time that Landry was at the law firm, he was also doing work for Concordia, so the old man wasn’t exactly struggling for cash.
What I’m also poking at here is, and it would take someone to confirm this for me, for all we know Charest might not even be a member of the bar any more…making his lucre even more scandalous.
As you can see, this is a problem that transcends the separatist/federalist divide.
The common populace is so blinded by the Canada/Quebec debate that this kind of corruption can carry on almost unchecked.
In a future post, I will explain why, in greater detail, corruption is so ingrained in Quebec’s culture and why, even if you were to see the separatist movement crash and burn in spectacular fashion in the next election, this will not change for a very long time.
For now however, I will say I’m very happy Quebec’s journalists got their hands on this information and broke it to the public.