Corruption and Quebec, a slight refrain


This afternoon a Quebec City radio guy named Stéphane Gasse essentially asked me if, in the wake of a leaked report detailing widespread, long-standing and deeply rooted corruption within Quebec construction industry, I felt like doing a touchdown dance on the heads of all the critics who lined up to pillory the magazine last year for our cover story on the subject. The report, written by former Montreal police commish Jacques Duchesneau, details what La Presse’s Tommy Chouinard describes as a “the existence of clandestine funding of political parties by engineering and construction firms.” Radio-Canada got its paws on it yesterday.

Not at all, I said. Zen is a wonderful thing, and anyway the fact that the province of my birth has a political culture that allows such a thing to fester for so long is nothing to be happy about. One thing, though: I wonder whether Parliament will express its similarly profound sadness at a situation Le Journal de Montréal pithily dubbed “Corrupt To The Bone” this morning, as it did when we dared write about it almost a year ago?

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Corruption and Quebec, a slight refrain

  1. What none of you understood at the time….and apparently still don’t….is that everyone is aware there is corruption in Quebec.

    However there is corruption in every province…and the fed govt….in fact anywhere there are humans in large groups.

    What you did was to single out Quebec as the one and only place it ever occurs. That is Quebec-bashing.

    • Uh, what they pointed out was that corruption is more widespread, more part of the political wallpaper, than anywhere else. They never said it never happens anywhere else. Maclean’s simply pointed out the unique depth of corruption in Quebec.

      • There is nothing unique about it.

    • Quebec bashing…your poor thing…ok why don’t you go to Calgary and check the roads there? No pothole, no cracks, no swell, and that’s mainly because the local government do not allocate contracts in exchange for campaign contribution, so road conpanies in calgary are accountable for the quality of their work.
      Quebec and especially all the independantist parties are corrupt to the bone, adn are taking campaign contribution in exchance of pubic contract ,locla governement put in office on those basis have no interests in conroling cost and quality, which is why Quebec looks like somalia and not a developed country.

      • Obviously you’ve never seen Somalia….or anywhere else other than your back porch.

  2. Good for you Martin!!!   That report is revealing some pretty scary stuff – can’t wait until they start naming names, and I hope you keep us well informed.   This would be excellent content for another William Marsden book.

    “Construction companies were also at the heart of the investigation. Cartels were formed and entrepreneurs who failed to co-operate were “threatened or faced intimidation from their competitors.”

    For instance, two companies controlled almost half of the asphalt-producing plants and could charge exorbitant prices.

    “Someone close to the Hells Angels states that ‘all that has to do with asphalt in and around Montreal we have it all,’” the report is quoted as saying.”

  3. Martin, I think there’s a bit of an “only Nixon can go to China” phenomenon at work here.  Part of the reason the Quebec elite, punditocracy et al. jumped all over Macleans was that Macleans is perceived as essentially an anglo-Canadian institution.  So, the way these people think, when Macleans says something bad about Quebec, that’s essentially English Canada beating up on poor little Quebec.  This report is seen as coming from a more indigenous source, so Quebeckers are more willing to listen to it without dismissing it out of hand.  It’s not fair, but that’s the way it is.

    • I think it was the picture of Bonhomme that did it!   :-)

      • Good point — tantamount to blasphemy . . .

  4. What Macleans did was to declare that Quebec was more corrupt than all other provinces, a claim they are unable to back with facts.  You confused scandals and allegations with facts.  You and Coyne live in a fairy land where no scandal or allegations means no problem.  How naive.  Laws in Quebec are more restrictive than other provinces’.  A perfectly legal legal donation to a political party is  reported and in itself viewed as corruption in Quebec.  I don’t remember reading reports on donors to political parties here in Ontario and their link to parties, except at the time of the ‘privatization’ or whatever it is of Hydro. 

    • Loraine are you a member of the Quebec order of engineers ? I does look like it !

      anyway , Quebecois engineers are pitiful when it comes to build
      infrastructure but obviously they are really good at engineering grafts
      in massive scale.

  5. Here is an example:


    For those who don’t understand the French language, a former PQ leader has been hired by Questerre to act as a consultant for the company on exploitation of shale gas in QC.  Note the sentence: On apprenait en mars dernier que Questerre a effectué de nombreux dons dans les villes où elle détient des
    puits, dont Saint-Édouard-de-Lotbinière, près de Lévis.

    There is nothing illegal about the company’s donations to the towns but any exchange of money between a business and a government or municipality is reported and viewed as suspect in QC.   Elsewhere in Canada it is viewed as a generous civic gestures : rather than being painted donors as corrupt, donors are given medals.

    You are 100% wrong.
    There may be very limited corruption in other Provinces by only a fraction of what takes place in Quebec as it is now part of the fabric of society in La Belle Provence. The DOLLAR RULES, even with the Queens’ head on it.
    BC/Alberta and Sask have all kinds of oversight committees including public scanning of contracts that at any stage would pick out any favouritism or questionable practises. Nothing of any magnitude is ever found.
    None of the other provinces have had the dozens of allegations, many proven,  of Quebecs INBRED corruption and ties to organised crime that racked New York until Kennedy and Guiliani purged it over a number of years. Quebec has had these since WW2.
    Quebec, the RCMP and ironically the Feds ignored all of it

    • Good one Phill………..

  7. Are all the PARTY’S  going to APOLIGIZE to Macleans for Dissing you for printing that article on corruption in Quebec ???

  8. Merci d’avoir dénoncé une corruption endémique il y a un an, et je dois vous dire que je suis profondément heureux de voir qu’on est maintenant tellement embourbé qu’on ne peut plus faire semblant de ne pas la voir. Je suis cependant désolé de vous dire qu’en plus d’être corrompus, nous sommes immatures. Alors ne comptez pas sur le Québec pour s’excuser de vous avoir blâmé injustement.

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