For Les Intouchables, a Quebec book publisher specializing in timely and often compromising pro-indépendantiste screeds, the project must have seemed delicious: a book co-written by a former mandarin of the Liberal Party of Canada’s Quebec wing detailing the party’s dark sponsorship scandal secrets. Turns out it may have been too good to be true.
For a short time, Le rouge et le noir: les secrets du Parti libéral du Canada (The Red and the Black: The Secrets of the Liberal Party of Canada), co-authored by Benoît Corbeil (pictured), the former director of the Liberal party’s Quebec wing, was displayed on the publisher’s website, along with a picture of the book’s cover. Then all traces of it mysteriously vanished.
No one has come forth to explain this bizarre vanishing act. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that Corbeil recently pled guilty to charges of fraud and influence peddling. Or maybe the book was pulled because it would have been a major embarrassment for the Liberal party in the event of a fall election.
Last week, Les Intouchables’ publisher, Michel Brûlé, told La Presse that the book had been put on the site by accident (Brûlé wouldn’t comment on the story to Maclean’s). “Because of the legal situation in which we find ourselves, the release of the book is hypothetical,” he said. He added that he wasn’t pressured by the Liberal party to delay the book’s release.
As if all this weren’t bizarre enough, there’s another twist: Corbeil’s co-author, Normand Lester, says he didn’t recognize any of the material that appeared on Les Intouchables’ website. “Neither the title nor the book cover corresponds with anything I’ve been working on,” he told Maclean’s.
For now, the mysterious case of the disappearing book remains unsolved. You can still pre-order a copy of Le rouge et le noir on Amazon.ca, but there’s no guarantee the hypothetical Liberal tell-all will ever make it to your mailbox.