Bye bye mon Tremblay

If you take what Gérald Tremblay said at its face, he was one of the most gobsmackingly naive fools ever to wander Montreal

by Paul Wells

He can’t say he wasn’t warned. And I’m not even talking about our cover from three years ago this week:

“My father told me politics was dirty and it would destroy me,” Montreal mayor Gérald Tremblay said near the start of his resignation speech at City Hall tonight. Let us assume he had a decent relationship with Dad. You’d think he would have taken some care to ensure that politics would not be dirty near him so it would not destroy him. But no, apparently that was too much to ask.

It’s as if Dad had said, “Son, don’t walk under movers lifting pianos because sometimes those ropes aren’t tied securely,” and pianos had been landing on him for a decade, and finally he woke up, climbed out from under the shattered rubble of a hundred Steinways, and said, “Guess I shoulda listened.”

Yes. You really should have listened.

I get the impression that even reporters who’ve followed the Montreal municipal cesspool for years will be amazed if it is ever established, as it has not yet been for sure, that Tremblay himself was crooked. He is basically a nice guy. But if you take what he said tonight at its face he was one of the most gobsmackingly naive fools ever to wander the crumbling boulevards of Canada’s second metropolis. Casablanca would have been a different movie if Captain Renault, who pronounces himself “shocked to find that gambling is going on here” were actually shocked to find there was gambling. Instead of being a conniver, he would have been a weapons-grade dunce. That other, parallel-universe movie would have to be called Montreal.

For a handy wrap-up of everything that was going pear-shaped while Tremblay was congratulating himself on his fine administration, we turn to Colleague Patriquin’s friend Patrick Lagacé at La Presse:

From the transgression of his Number 2 (Frank Zampino, who fraternized in the tropics with Tony Accurso, co-recipient of the largest public contract in the history of the city) to the escapades of Faubourg Contrecoeur (which led to the arrest of Mr. Zampino and Mr. Fillion, his former Chief of Staff) to the municipal auditor’s spying to the 3% demanded by Bernard Trépanier, his party’s bagman (a story that came out in La Presse a few years ago, before coming out at the Charbonneau Commission) …

La dee dah, it’s such a lovely town, and why are the newspapers and magazines being so mean to me? In the end, Tremblay’s defence is that he was Chauncey Gardner, and it is all too plausible. “My trust was betrayed,” he said. “I take full responsibility.” About time. For half the time he’s been mayor, every article written about the City Hall he claimed to be running could have carried the headline, YOUR TRUST IS BEING BETRAYED. YOU NEED TO TAKE FULL RESPONSIBILITY.

Meanwhile across the river in Laval, the villagers with torches have almost caught up to Gilles Vaillancourt, who looks to be another deal altogether. The province’s anti-corruption squad lately amuses itself by raiding Vaillancourt’s office or his home or his other home or his other other home every few days, and by all accounts what they’re finding will make it hard for Vaillancourt to credibly swipe Tremblay’s Sgt. Schultz defence.

Tremblay’s speech began with a few paragraphs about the very good economic performance the city has posted during his tenure. And it’s true: if you survive the horrifying drive into town under visibly crumbling overpasses, and as long as a sinkhole doesn’t swallow you up while you’re strolling along a key commercial artery, Montreal looks healthier than it has at any point during the quarter-century I’ve known the city. Nobody will think of that when they think of Tremblay after today. His own astonishing, dogged blindness saw to that.

 




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Bye bye mon Tremblay

  1. …and now on to Denis Coderre…

  2. A very bad article Paul : no substance, way too emotional. Where is your professionalism?

  3. That’s pretty impressive…Casablanca, Being there and Hogan’s Heroes [ only half a point for the nod to Frankenstein though] all referenced in one short piece. Surely with just a tad more effort you could surely have squeezed Gotham city, Chinatown or even blade runner in there somewhere?
    Hey it’s Montreal…how could you have passed up on a reference to the godfather.

    • And the title is Mitsou.

  4. A very emotional read. You must have loved Montreal a lot, as I did, at some point in your life.

    I opened the link and was charmed by the beauty of Ste-Catherine at McGill – I didn’t see the hole. I just wished I could walk up towards the university, admiring the mountain.

  5. It’s funny how Rob Ford is getting heat for confronting reporters sneaking around his yard, for talking on a phone in his car, for leaving work early to coach football games, for taking part in a vote that he should not have, etc.

    Meanwhile, in Canada’s other biggest city, Tremblay has been presiding over an administration rife with endemic corruption and kickbacks. Even the career civil servants are in on the act. There are ties to the mafia and the corruption is widespread.

    This, in a nutshell, describes not only the corruption in Quebec, but also the corruption of the Canadian media, who choose to ignore real stories while fabricating stories of their own. The media wanted to portray Ford as a corrupt buffoon and so they did. Meanwhile, there is a real corrupt buffoon presiding over Canada’s second biggest city, yet the only English publication to cover it, as far as I know, was one or two individuals at Maclean’s, and the details have only been coming out now, many years after it started, and only when it became absolutely obvious that it was going on. Kind of reminds me of adscam.

    These last two articles by Patriquin and Wells are far more interesting and revealing than the thousands upon thousands of articles written by the multitudes of useless reporters who have written about Ford. I can even recall graphics depicting the location of the reporter harassing Ford at his home. Yet adscam went on for years undetected, and now we know about widespread corruption going on for years unreported in Montreal. I guess you could call this a compliment to one of the few remaining Canadian journalists.

    • Rob Ford is a corrupt buffoon. The past 2 years, and still pending conflict-of-interest decision have proven that. The media most certainly doesn’t need to make anything up when it comes to him. In fact, they haven’t had it this easy in years, with Robbie constantly thinking of new dumb things to do that they can put on the cover of magazines and newspapers. Two of the items you mentioned in your first paragraph are actually against the law, and another represents a breach of public trust.

      The fact that Montreal’s civic government is a cesspool of corruption might come as a surprise only to Gerald Tremblay. I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. That said, the type of willful blindness that is required to ignore the corruption which swirled around him is more than enough to disqualify him for office.

      • Congratulations, you would be welcome into the class of Canadia’s corrupt journalism.

        Rob Ford is a corrupt buffoon because of cell phone use in a car and taking part in a council vote he should not have.

        Gerard Tremblay presides over the most corrupt administration in Canada, with ties to the mafia and public works projects that cost 30% more than anywhere else, with civil servants receiving kickbacks and payoffs for years. But he gets the benefit of the doubt.

        You are an extreme partisan.

        • Distracted driving and breaching conflict-of-interest laws put in place to prevent politicians from using their position for personal gain are both illegal, and the latter is almost the textbook definition of corruption. If that isn’t enough for you, how about having the public works department prioritize repairing the road that his family business is on in time for its 50th anniversary party? I guess in your world, that’s a legitimate use of a Mayor’s powers. Grow up.

          • Learn to read. You’ve constructed a straw-man. I’ve never claimed the laws should not exist. Nor do I claim parking tickets should not exist.

            But unlike partisan twits like you, I can see the difference between a parking ticket and first degree murder.

            Grow a brain.

            Guess why conflict of interest laws exist? To prevent corruption and kickbacks! Twits like you would prefer to focus on a potential conflict of interest rather than the corruption and kickbacks that conflict of interest laws exist to prevent. And the reason why is obvious. Grow a brain. My God, are you fundamentalist partisans really so blind? Are you really as stupid as you claim to be?

            If you don’t intend to response to what I said, don’t hit the reply button.
            Start your own thread if you want to talk about something else.

          • Being told to “Grow a brain” by the likes of you is cute. I would encourage you to use yours, but we all know that’s probably a lost cause. I see you conveniently ignored the point about him using his influence to repair the road outside the family business. But that’s par for the course for you Fordies. When reality becomes a little bit too complicated or inconvenient, you just ignore it.

            As the article states, there is no evidence anywhere to suggest that Tremblay engaged in any wrongdoing. As of right now, he’s only guilty of being naive at best and willfully blind at worst. If proof emerges that he actually engaged in criminal behaviour, then of course he should be prosecuted.

            You are the one that raised the issue of Rob Ford in order to create some type of contrast. The irony in that is that Ford has actually been charged with wrongdoing by the integrity commissioner, and we’ll know soon if a judge agrees with her findings, in which case they will do the entire city of Toronto a huge favour and send him packing.

            But again, I guess summarizing all of those pesky facts makes me a “partisan”. You’re a disgrace, and people like you would rather see the whole city ruined to save $60. You deserve the mayor you get, the problem is that the rest of us get him too.

            And “grow a brain”? What, are you eight?

          • For someone who throws insults as liberally as you, you have an untold amount of arrogance, and you are an extreme hypocrite. And yes, you have an extreme shortage of intelligence. Look in a mirror.

  6. “Tremblay’s Sgt. Schultz defence” lol – love it!

    I very much enjoyed the “Joie de vivre” years I lived in Montreal. My ex was born and raised there – big Irish family that hung out with big French and Italian families. Everyone new about the huge Mafia activity, corruption in construction industry, crooked politics and wacko unions.

    Funny that a good friend moved from Montreal to Vancouver a couple of years ago and he was shocked at how few things “fell off the back of the truck” here, lol.

  7. s_c_f -false.

    French language media have been demanding this inquiry for a very long time. Fear of separatists has propped up Charest and Tremblay, despite the fact they’ve been afloat in corruption allegation for years. The Accurso/construction/mafia stuff? The city worker corruption? This has been in the news in french for years. That you aren’t aware of it suggests you either A) don’t speak french B) are incapable of doing bibliographical research.

    • I rarely read or watch french language media (I don’t live in Quebec and french is not my first language). That’s why I used the phrase “the only English publication”. Canada is a bilingual country and Montreal is a bilingual city.

      Learn to read.

      Don’t reply to me if you’re not responding to what I said.

      If the french language media have been on the case, that’s great… but I find it hard to believe that corruption this widespread, that has been going on for so long, has already been exposed.

  8. I remember when there was a cover page on Maclean’s about the corruption in Quebec and it lead to a backlash from Quebecers for slandering the province.

    I wonder how Montrealers will react to this…

  9. I don’t know about the rest of Canada, but in Ottawa, the same b.s. is going on, the “mafia” just looks different, the taxpayers are over burdened because of the “scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours” attitude between politicians and mayor and councillors (which are buffoons by the way). “Sole Bidders” get over priced contracts, and the list is long…….

  10. Ha ha ha… Bravo! Love your article! After Macleans showed its cover page a while ago with Quebec’s ridiculous mascot with a suitcase full of cash, Quebecers did what they do best: they victimized themselves and cried “Quebec bashing” and “racism”… Now they’re petrified over the magnitude of corruption proved by this commission… Province of idiots!

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