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What does it take to make Parliament sad?

Envelopes stuffed with cash, more nastiness and name-calling—and silence from the House?


 
What does it take to make parliament sad?

Ryan Remiorz/CP

We now update you on the emotional state of the House of Commons.

On Sept. 29, after this magazine ran a cover story calling Quebec the most corrupt province in Canada, the lower house of Parliament voted unanimously, more or less, to express “its profound sadness at the prejudice displayed and the stereotypes employed by Maclean’s magazine to denigrate the Quebec nation, its history and its institutions.”

This concludes your update on the emotional state of the House of Commons. Your MPs have not passed any motions describing their emotions since. We can only speculate on their mood at Bloc MP Serge Ménard’s claim this week that Gilles Vaillancourt, the mayor of Laval, gave him an envelope with $10,000 cash in it when Ménard was preparing to run for the National Assembly in 2003.

Does this news sadden the Commons, even a little? Does it make the lower house giggly? Your guess is as good as mine.

Parliament remains poker-faced at news that Vincent Auclair, a member of Quebec’s National Assembly, also claims to have been offered an envelope bulging with cash by Vaillancourt. Laval’s mayor vigorously denies these assertions.

The other day somebody hid in the woods outside Nicolo Rizzuto’s house in Montreal’s north end (across the river from Laval, actually) and sent the old man to his maker with a well-placed shot from a sniper rifle. This makes the wizened old crook the second Nick Rizzuto to die by violence in a year. Three days after Christmas last year, Rizzuto’s grandson, also named Nick, was shot dead in Nôtre Dame de Grâce. Vito Rizzuto, son of one dead Nick and father of the other, is in a U.S. prison serving a 10-year sentence for the murder of Alphonse Indelicato, Phillip Giaccone and Dominick Trinchera, whose business interests in life I will leave you to speculate on.

Nicolo Rizzuto lay for a few days in an open casket with his fedora by his side before the surviving non-incarcerated members of his extended family buried him. The newspapers said his mob nickname was Le Vieux, the old guy. This bespeaks an alarming nickname ingenuity deficit at the highest reaches of Montreal organized crime. You will be pleased to learn that before it started dying in hails of gunfire, the Rizzuto family took a keen interest in, and by some accounts a five per cent cut of, the allocation of construction contracts in Montreal. The House of Commons, perhaps exhausted from weeping about our cover, was unmoved by these events.

While all of this was going on, Gérard Deltell, the leader of the microscopic and shattered Action Démocratique du Québec party, called Jean Charest the “Godfather of the Liberal Party.” Tossing the insult while the police tape was still up at the Rizzuto manse gave the accusation a certain piquancy. Whatever Charest’s failings as premier, his party is the first since the Quiet Revolution to win three elections in a row. He is a pure product of Québécois democracy—more so than, say, Bernard Landry, who never won a general election as PQ leader. So a calumny against Charest risks spreading prejudicial stereotypes against an institution, the Liberal party, that has been important to the history of the Quebec nation. That’s one reason Charest is threatening to sue Deltell. The House of Commons, on the other hand, is okay with it all.

(Quebecers are of course free to conclude, based on his performance on the job, that those three consecutive election wins for Charest should now be regretted. It would be hard to blame them. But I hope nobody will put too much stock in an online petition tabled by an opposition member—and posted on the legislature’s website—calling for his resignation. Online petitions are the consummate early-21th-century method for registering political opinion with minimum effort, and if an Internet petition forces a premier from office, it will not be six months before another online petition collects more “signatures” calling for the resignation of his successor. But I digress.)

What else? Let’s see?.?.?.?Ah yes. Say hello to Normand Ouimet, who faces 22 murder charges in relation to all that whacking that took place among Quebec’s motorcycle enthusiasts in the 1990s. Among Ouimet’s many business interests over the years was the construction firm LM Sauvé, which in 2007, two years after he cut his ties to the firm, landed a $9-million contract for the renovation of Parliament’s West Block. It later lost the contract because civil servants decided Sauvé didn’t actually know much about how to renovate a parliamentary annex. I hasten to report that Parliament is damned curious about all of this, and that a parade of witnesses have been hauled before a committee to profess their astonishment at all these nasty surprises. But so far the Commons has not settled on a mood or emotional state about all this that demands unanimous expression.

All the events I describe have happened since our profoundly saddening cover. To sum up: Nick Rizzuto père sleeps with the fishes. The mayor of Laval is threatening to sue two politicians, while the premier of Quebec threatens to sue a third. The construction business in Montreal remains full of surprises. This magazine has still not produced an objective methodology that would prove Quebec’s political culture is in a unique state of disrepair. Call it a hunch.


 

What does it take to make Parliament sad?

  1. Well said! I still can't believe the Bloc spent their opposition day on a motion about Macleans cover… what a waste!

  2. Well said! I still can't believe the Bloc spent their opposition day on a motion about Macleans cover… what a waste!

  3. I bet the whole lot felt good about themselves on that day, all agreeing on one thing, for once. And they gotta feel good when they look at their bank accounts every month, because this House is simply collecting a paycheck. No debate about Afghanistan, MIA on some important bills, asleep at the wheel on others. And the G20 debacle! Fuggetaboutit! We had some committee meetings. What more do you want?

    Afghanistan documents? Proroguing parliament? What are you talking about, old man? Those things never happened.

  4. I bet the whole lot felt good about themselves on that day, all agreeing on one thing, for once. And they gotta feel good when they look at their bank accounts every month, because this House is simply collecting a paycheck. No debate about Afghanistan, MIA on some important bills, asleep at the wheel on others. And the G20 debacle! Fuggetaboutit! We had some committee meetings. What more do you want?

    Afghanistan documents? Proroguing parliament? What are you talking about, old man? Those things never happened.

  5. Good column Wells. As we all can see there is somethng seriously wrong in Quebec but of course nobody had better talk about it because it will be considered an attack on the people and the culture of Quebec. One of these days the rest of Canada will wake up and our Parliamentarians will grow a pair.

  6. Good column Wells. As we all can see there is somethng seriously wrong in Quebec but of course nobody had better talk about it because it will be considered an attack on the people and the culture of Quebec. One of these days the rest of Canada will wake up and our Parliamentarians will grow a pair.

    • The hollinm endorsement – AKA 'The Kiss of Death'.

      • Jan……glad you think my comments have such an effect on the commentators on this board. It sure doesn't stop you from yapping though :-)

  7. Ok, but in the same time frame on PEI

    Opposition development critic Mike Currie called on Innovation Minister Allan Campbell to resign.
    “We always hear of one Island community, but, I think, what we have is one Island embarrassment,” Currie said during question period this afternoon…
    “What I think the minister should do, to clear his own conscience, throw the keys on the desk and stand up and resign in shame and walk back to Souris.”

    while in Manitoba the judges are frisky and

    in Nova Scotia!
    The Mi'kmaq Chiefs feels the province acted hastily in announcing the site of a new jail, and they are contemplating legal action because of what they are calling a breach of the timelines set for consultation by the province.
    Who would have thought, NOVA SCOTIA: hasty, breaching timelines!

    Clearly looking at the big picture this stuff all averages out.

  8. Ok, but in the same time frame on PEI

    Opposition development critic Mike Currie called on Innovation Minister Allan Campbell to resign.
    “We always hear of one Island community, but, I think, what we have is one Island embarrassment,” Currie said during question period this afternoon…
    “What I think the minister should do, to clear his own conscience, throw the keys on the desk and stand up and resign in shame and walk back to Souris.”

    while in Manitoba the judges are frisky and

    in Nova Scotia!
    The Mi'kmaq Chiefs feels the province acted hastily in announcing the site of a new jail, and they are contemplating legal action because of what they are calling a breach of the timelines set for consultation by the province.
    Who would have thought, NOVA SCOTIA: hasty, breaching timelines!

    Clearly looking at the big picture this stuff all averages out.

    • "Clearly looking at the big picture this stuff all averages out. "

      Is this facetious or serious?

      I agree that Native Affairs needs to be investigated because there is steady stream of stories from all provs about corrupt band councils or dodgy chiefs but problem is not specific to one province. Your other story is dog bites man and is typical government story – stimulus didn't work, money not distributed in time …. blah blah blah.

  9. What does it take to make Parliament sad? Obviously, any fact-based criticism of a vache sacrée.

    Anyways, Bonhomme is still mighty PO'd at you guys.

  10. My hunch is that corruption is so bad in Quebec they don't want to uncover it all because it taint the two major parties, destroy politics for decades and confirm prejudices that people in Rest of Canada have of Quebec. Pols are trying to protect the Quebec Nation – whatever that is – so they say nothing and allow corruption to fester and spread. The problem with this strategy is that most Canadians in general, and Quebecers in particular, are aware of the unique culture within Quebec but the pols like to pretend they are really clever and are keeping the problems hidden.

    "This magazine has still not produced an objective methodology that would prove Quebec's political culture is in a unique state of disrepair. Call it a hunch."

    Nice finish, Wells. I am guessing Maclean's experienced the typical progressive argument – progs embrace invincible ignorance and demand peer reviewed study done by people progressives approve of or else they don't believe the evidence right before their eyes. And while they ignore the evidence right before them, progressives call you all sorts of names and question your sanity.

  11. What does it take to make Parliament sad? Obviously, any fact-based criticism of a vache sacrée.

    Anyways, Bonhomme is still mighty PO'd at you guys.

    • Also, Bonhomme is still mighty.

  12. My hunch is that corruption is so bad in Quebec they don't want to uncover it all because it taint the two major parties, destroy politics for decades and confirm prejudices that people in Rest of Canada have of Quebec. Pols are trying to protect the Quebec Nation – whatever that is – so they say nothing and allow corruption to fester and spread. The problem with this strategy is that most Canadians in general, and Quebecers in particular, are aware of the unique culture within Quebec but the pols like to pretend they are really clever and are keeping the problems hidden.

    "This magazine has still not produced an objective methodology that would prove Quebec's political culture is in a unique state of disrepair. Call it a hunch."

    Nice finish, Wells. I am guessing Maclean's experienced the typical progressive argument – progs embrace invincible ignorance and demand peer reviewed study done by people progressives approve of or else they don't believe the evidence right before their eyes. And while they ignore the evidence right before them, progressives call you all sorts of names and question your sanity.

  13. "Clearly looking at the big picture this stuff all averages out. "

    Is this facetious or serious?

    I agree that Native Affairs needs to be investigated because there is steady stream of stories from all provs about corrupt band councils or dodgy chiefs but problem is not specific to one province. Your other story is dog bites man and is typical government story – stimulus didn't work, money not distributed in time …. blah blah blah.

  14. I hear that Mr. Mulcair is working up a motion that will express Parliament's feelings of detached surrealism in regards to all this and that Rob Anders may accuse him of being a communist for doing so. But way to spoil the party ahead of time Wells!

  15. I hear that Mr. Mulcair is working up a motion that will express Parliament's feelings of detached surrealism in regards to all this and that Rob Anders may accuse him of being a communist for doing so. But way to spoil the party ahead of time Wells!

  16. Been missing your unique stylings Mr. Wells, I really wish you would apply some of your insights to BC. The skank here is conducted by white collar gangsters, rather than Quebec's quaint well armed mafias, sadly the results appear similar..even if the deaths are political rather than actual. From municipal to provincial, bone headed decision after bone headed decision are foisted on us and lauded in the media as progress.

    From Picton, to Basi/Virk, to private power, to the convention centre to the BC Place new roof, to 3Ps the gathering clouds of smoke are signs the fire is out rather than growing… we are regularily reassured by our provincial media. Quebec and BC may be divided between English/French but cash seems the official language of business and politics in both.

  17. Been missing your unique stylings Mr. Wells, I really wish you would apply some of your insights to BC. The skank here is conducted by white collar gangsters, rather than Quebec's quaint well armed mafias, sadly the results appear similar..even if the deaths are political rather than actual. From municipal to provincial, bone headed decision after bone headed decision are foisted on us and lauded in the media as progress.

    From Picton, to Basi/Virk, to private power, to the convention centre to the BC Place new roof, to 3Ps the gathering clouds of smoke are signs the fire is out rather than growing… we are regularily reassured by our provincial media. Quebec and BC may be divided between English/French but cash seems the official language of business and politics in both.

    • One problem is a lot of BC's scandals tend to affend the unique sensibilities of the province. Private Power, well go over to Alberta they have 100% Private Power including all the dams on the Bow River running into Calgary as do Ontario and several other provinces. Ontario's problem is this area is that McGuinty keeps on signing contracts for power Ontario doesn't need at current recessionary levels of demand causing rates to explode. Having said that there is little sympathy in the province for the crown owned OPG what used to be Ontario Hydro which is viewed as being full of union featherbedding. Province owned railroads well Ontario happens the only other province to own one and I can't imagine that it is even known about to most of the province or has much of a constituency outside the far north(McGuinty has been trying to sell it to CN for several years). The HST: last I looked they don't seem to be any protests going on in Halifax that there paying 15% on it or in St John's that there paying 13%.

      The problem is Campbell wants to make BC more like the rest of the country come hell or high water and clearly the provinces "unique sensibilities" have caught up with him.

  18. I honestly can't believe Wells' ongoing mischaracterization of the Maclean's cover story. Contrary to his handy-dandy revisionist history/lame spin, it wasn't simply a cover story about corruption in Quebec, of which no one can doubt is rampant. No, let's not forget that Maclean's claimed on its cover the Quebec was the most corrupt province in Canada. As someone who cares a little bit when the media tell lies and half-truths, and then continue to propagate them despite a lack of evidence to support this magazine's central claim, this is a big problem for me.

    You have evidence and data that proves your claim about Quebec being the most corrupt province? Let's see it. Prove it, as one of your scientist buddies at Perimeter might write in the margin of a first year political science student.

    I know Wells fancies himself as some kind of policy wonkish journalist, or at least one of the few Canadian journalists capable of hobnobbing with scientists and policy wonks. Truth be told, he does a great job. But for the life of me, I can't figure out why he is continuing to spread the lie the Maclean's started on its cover about Quebec. No corruption in Ontario? In BC? In Atlantic Canada? Come one, Wells. This is beneath you – unless there's another foreign posting in the offing. In which case, keep repeating the home office line.

  19. I honestly can't believe Wells' ongoing mischaracterization of the Maclean's cover story. Contrary to his handy-dandy revisionist history/lame spin, it wasn't simply a cover story about corruption in Quebec, of which no one can doubt is rampant. No, let's not forget that Maclean's claimed on its cover the Quebec was the most corrupt province in Canada. As someone who cares a little bit when the media tell lies and half-truths, and then continue to propagate them despite a lack of evidence to support this magazine's central claim, this is a big problem for me.

    You have evidence and data that proves your claim about Quebec being the most corrupt province? Let's see it. Prove it, as one of your scientist buddies at Perimeter might write in the margin of a first year political science student.

    I know Wells fancies himself as some kind of policy wonkish journalist, or at least one of the few Canadian journalists capable of hobnobbing with scientists and policy wonks. Truth be told, he does a great job. But for the life of me, I can't figure out why he is continuing to spread the lie the Maclean's started on its cover about Quebec. No corruption in Ontario? In BC? In Atlantic Canada? Come one, Wells. This is beneath you – unless there's another foreign posting in the offing. In which case, keep repeating the home office line.

  20. Are envelopes stuffed with $10,000 from Quebec Mayors the same as paychecks inflated by $100,000 annually from Ontario Premiers?

    I like 'The Old Guy' for Wells….

  21. Are envelopes stuffed with $10,000 from Quebec Mayors the same as paychecks inflated by $100,000 annually from Ontario Premiers?

    I like 'The Old Guy' for Wells….

  22. "No, let's not forget that Maclean's claimed on its cover the Quebec was the most corrupt province in Canada."

    I'm all for that. That's why the second sentence of the column you see as part of my "ongoing mischaracterization" says "this magazine ran a cover story calling Quebec the most corrupt province in Canada."

    "You have evidence and data that proves your claim about Quebec being the most corrupt province? Let's see it." Kaplan, if you see the events I describe in this column as insufficient evidence, I can't stop you. But please stop asking us to produce evidence when we are producing evidence literally as fast as our publication schedule permits.

    It's true, as I point out in this column's second-last sentence, that we have not scientifically locked down Quebec's place as the most corrupt province in Canada. It's a nasty habit of ours. On June 28 of this year, we called the Gulf oil spill "A cataclysm beyond all reckoning." This is a gross insult to people who are really good at reckoning cataclysms. We described the Finnish ash cloud as "The Volcano that Choked Europe." But I know a guy in Warsaw who didn't actually choke, so you've got us. Our cover story on April 19 was "America Is Angry." But Jon Stewart seemed pretty chipper, so shame on us. On March 15 we called the Vancouver Olympics "The Greatest Games Ever." This is said to be upsetting to readers in Atlanta and Sydney. Our Feb. 1 cover carried one word: "Haiti." But Feschuk's column was about belly-button lint, so why were we not shut down for false advertising?

    I would be happy to apologize for our claim that there is no corruption in Ontario, BC, and Atlantic Canada, except Marty Patriquin wrote the precise opposite, so I'm flat out of things to apologize for, except perhaps your limited reading comprehension:

    "Certainly, Quebec doesn't have a monopoly on bad behaviour. It was in British Columbia that three premiers—Bill Vander Zalm, Mike Harcourt and Glen Clark—were punted from office in short order for a variety of shenanigans by their governments in the 1990s. In the mid-'90s, no less than 12 members of Saskatchewan Conservative premier Grant Devine's government were charged in relation to an $837,000 expense account scheme. Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada's first prime minister—and the first to go down in scandal, with his government forced to resign—came from Ontario. And the East Coast? “The record of political chicanery is so overflowing in the Maritimes that they could likely teach Quebec a few tricks,” Montreal Gazette political writer Hubert Bauch once wrote."

    As for the "home office line," I can tell you with some authority that Rogers is desperate for my colleagues and me to write about any other topic. But they are good enough to let us do our jobs, and we're stuck with the evidence of our eyes.

    • Hey that is a great defence! I'm sure that Goldman Sacks and JPMorgan Chase use it all the time. Heck, I even used it once… in KINDERGARTEN!!!

  23. Oh, that publications like Maclean's could be shut down for false journalism. It's rather authoritarian, sure, but might incentivize accurate journalism. I kid. By all means, I enjoyed your response, especially the underlying message in which you admit that you couldn't support the claim, but go on to defend Maclean's and your own efforts in trying to prove it after the fact (which, by the way, you haven't).

    Evidence, dear Wells. Evidence. Again, what do you have? You've thrown a bunch of anecdotes at us today in your newest post. I'm sure they're relevant as indicators of corruption. But how do they demonstrate the Quebec is the most corrupt province in Canada? I don't think throwing these little stories out there, and then standing back and saying 'If you can't see it, I can't help you' works. Prove it. Prove it!

    But that's the problem, isn't it? Maclean's can't prove it, at least without a measurable form of data analysis, applied equally to other cases. No one denies Quebec is corrupt. No one denise that it could be the most corrupt province in Canada. But you don't know it is, and I don't know it is, because no one has set down a quantifiable, verifiable and provable yardstick to measure this. As the kids used to say, epic fail. Your rewriting of Patriquin's section on other Canadian political scandals and corruption actually works against you magazine's claim of Quebec being first among corrupt equals, so I'm not sure why you'd throw that into your arsenal.

    Look, I appreciate your response. I do. But if you're going childishly write about your magazine's coverage of volcanoes and angry Americans as some kind of rationale for continuing to back an inaccurate cover story, then I'm clearly writing on the wrong forum here.

    But you're perpetuating a lie, Wells. Tom Friedman, who I normally roll my eyes at, wrote what I thought was a powerful piece in the NY Times a couple days ago about the problems when the media fail to properly check their facts. It's here: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/17/opinion/17fried

    Now, I know someone can come back at me and list the litany of cases and people Patriquin spoke to. The surveys cited! The police interviewed! The scared politicians! The anecdotes! Lord, the anecdotes.

    It's all nonsense, insofar as actually proving your cover story. Taken as a whole, it confirms that Quebec is corrupt, but as your article helpfully noted, it's pretty much corrupt all over.

    You haven't proven a thing here, Wells. You're smart, so you know you haven't proven a thing. You're defending substandard and inaccurate journalism. That it comes from you is perhaps why I've rambled on here for so long, and that I'm loath to let this one go so easily.

  24. One problem is a lot of BC's scandals tend to affend the unique sensibilities of the province. Private Power, well go over to Alberta they have 100% Private Power including all the dams on the Bow River running into Calgary as do Ontario and several other provinces. Ontario's problem is this area is that McGuinty keeps on signing contracts for power Ontario doesn't need at current recessionary levels of demand causing rates to explode. Having said that there is little sympathy in the province for the crown owned OPG what used to be Ontario Hydro which is viewed as being full of union featherbedding. Province owned railroads well Ontario happens the only other province to own one and I can't imagine that it is even known about to most of the province or has much of a constituency outside the far north(McGuinty has been trying to sell it to CN for several years). The HST: last I looked they don't seem to be any protests going on in Halifax that there paying 15% on it or in St John's that there paying 13%.

    The problem is Campbell wants to make BC more like the rest of the country come hell or high water and clearly the provinces "unique sensibilities" have caught up with him.

  25. Also, Bonhomme is still mighty.

  26. You guys continue to studiously avoid mentioning corruption in Alberta. What's up with that? Don't make us show you what corruption is all about.

  27. You guys continue to studiously avoid mentioning corruption in Alberta. What's up with that? Don't make us show you what corruption is all about.

    • And B.C.- we're floating in drug money out here. So much money laundering going on, it's obvious certain officials are turning a blind eye to it. And assassinations – we get a fair number of those too. And then there's the current provincial government – time will tell what they've been up to. CSIS suggests we have politicians being influenced by foreign governments. Bottom line, I can't feel any smugness that we're cleaner than Quebec.

      • Everywhere is floating in drug money, money laundering goes on all over Canada, so there is nothing to distinguish BC in any of that. Assassinations ? Who has been assassinated in BC ? It's not about 'smugness', it's about facts.

    • Curiously enough for a province that hasn't really had a corruption scandal since cabinet minister Peter Trynchy had his driveway paved in 1994, 37% of Albertans are concerned or very concerned about about the level of corruption in their home province.
      http://www.visioncritical.com/wp-content/uploads/

      • I am loosing my sleep over it ; )

      • we haven't had a credible opposition to kick over the rocks either though ;)

        sure hope the wild rose can still hold enough sway by the time stelmach has to call an election that we'll have a real contest.

  28. "This magazine has still not produced an objective methodology that would prove Quebec's political culture is in a unique state of disrepair. Call it a hunch."

    LMAO.

  29. "This magazine has still not produced an objective methodology that would prove Quebec's political culture is in a unique state of disrepair. Call it a hunch."

    LMAO.

  30. Kaplan, perhaps to prove your point, you could provide a counterfactual, you could cite similar cases of fraud and corruption in public contracts of a similar nature and gravity in provinces other than Quebec. I don't think you can.

  31. And B.C.- we're floating in drug money out here. So much money laundering going on, it's obvious certain officials are turning a blind eye to it. And assassinations – we get a fair number of those too. And then there's the current provincial government – time will tell what they've been up to. CSIS suggests we have politicians being influenced by foreign governments. Bottom line, I can't feel any smugness that we're cleaner than Quebec.

  32. Kaplan, perhaps to prove your point, you could provide a counterfactual, you could cite similar cases of fraud and corruption in public contracts of a similar nature and gravity in provinces other than Quebec. I don't think you can.

    • I'm not trying to prove that Alberta or BC or Newfoundland is the most corrupt seat of power in Canada. I'm pointing out that there's no evidence that proves that Quebec actually is the most corrupt province.

      A lot of journalists that I really respect are twisting themselves into pretzels trying to defend an article that can't actually prove its definitive, advertised thesis. By all means, carry on. It's your reputations at stake, not mine. I just think if you're going to make a definitive claim in a national magazine, you might want to have some pretty irrefutable proof that what you're stating on your cover is backed up by the article contained therein.

      Like I said, it's your reputation.

      • Again, as I've said on other blogs, had Maclean's approached the corruption issue with the same rigour that it approaches its university rankings, I'd really have nothing to say on the methodology. In this case, though, it's completely lacking.

        • "Kaplan, perhaps to prove your point, you could provide a counterfactual, you could cite similar cases of fraud and corruption in public contracts of a similar nature and gravity in provinces other than Quebec. I don't think you can.

          So the answer is, no, you can't. I am curious to know how you think a statement like "Quebec is the most corrupt province in Canada" could be proved or disproved 'scientifically' to anybody's satisfaction given that we are talking about crime which by its very nature is impossible to quantify. For example, Transparency International does surveys, but that's all a little too post-modern for my tastes (how do you feel about corruption) and, in any case, there is no disaggregation within countries. In the absence of both satisfactory method and reliable facts, I think all we have to assess is what is known in terms of corruption, what you call 'anecdotal' evidence, but which is evidence nevertheless. If this analysis were being done for a thesis at the post-graduate level, it would be done on the basis of exactly the evidence you reject as 'anecdotal'.

          Bottom line : if all we have to go on is what we know, and you can't show that other provinces have more of what we know is going on in Quebec than Quebec does, which is quite a lot as Wells points out, Maclean's is quite justified in making the claim "Quebec is the most corrupt province in Canada", and you don't have anything to challenge that statement with other than your opinion which is based on neither facts nor arguments.

        • To clarify MacLean's was censured by the HOC because they attacked our collective sense of Nationalism. It's clear that Wells has some difficulty understanding exactly how the Magazine managed to do that. He's going over the 'feelings'…mocking them…and I think is quite sad but inevitable. There was a change and Wells must feel that in his day to day life. It's not every day that a collective emotion and identity like Nationalism has it's defenders swat away the flies. MacLean's became a dirty fly that day. A sort of odd metamorphosis from Giant Beetle to Dirty Fly…

          • Oh puuuhhhllleeeezzz!!!! Where are the defenders of "our collective sense of Nationalism" when Alberta is being vilified for having the audacity to extract oil from the ground?

            You're argument would simply be laughable if you weren't attempting to excuse mass corruption and graft in Quebec.

          • I don't think Ezra Levant has any trouble writing articles, publishing books and getting national media exposure when he defends Alberta's oil industry.

          • I fail to see the relevance of your point. Unless you're suggesting that people who defend Quebec are being denied the right to speak out. If that's the case, I can only laugh.

        • "…had Maclean's approached the corruption issue with the same rigour that it approaches its university rankings…"

          Translation : "Include all the provinces in the study, except for those that choose not to participate"

        • So this is all about the word "most"? All the controversy, weeping, gnashing of teeth, parliamentary resolutions, vicious letters to the editor, the whole mess could have been avoided with the headline "Quebec: Really Effing Corrupt"? I suppose it's possible. After all, I can't produce incontrovertible scientific evidence that it wouldn't have been.

      • Do we hear about corruption in the construction industry in other provinces? Do we hear about politicians being paid off in other province on a fairly regular basis? Do we hear about mafia murders in other provinces? Do we hear about motorcycle gangs, with gangland style murders? When was there talk about the mafia in Alberta? Enough evidence for you now.
        Instead of attacking the message why not look at the facts.

        • I agree with hollinm, apocalypse to follow.

  33. I'm not trying to prove that Alberta or BC or Newfoundland is the most corrupt seat of power in Canada. I'm pointing out that there's no evidence that proves that Quebec actually is the most corrupt province.

    A lot of journalists that I really respect are twisting themselves into pretzels trying to defend an article that can't actually prove its definitive, advertised thesis. By all means, carry on. It's your reputations at stake, not mine. I just think if you're going to make a definitive claim in a national magazine, you might want to have some pretty irrefutable proof that what you're stating on your cover is backed up by the article contained therein.

    Like I said, it's your reputation.

  34. Again, as I've said on other blogs, had Maclean's approached the corruption issue with the same rigour that it approaches its university rankings, I'd really have nothing to say on the methodology. In this case, though, it's completely lacking.

  35. Curiously enough for a province that hasn't really had a corruption scandal since cabinet minister Peter Trynchy had his driveway paved in 1994, 37% of Albertans are concerned or very concerned about about the level of corruption in their home province.
    http://www.visioncritical.com/wp-content/uploads/

  36. Well, I think Kaplan has a point, in that we want our news media to give us news facts as facts, not news could-be-true's as facts.

    For example: Maclean's could have written: "Quebec: The most corrupt province?" and then provided within the covers the anecdotes that make the case–but left it up to the reader to decide whether or not he believed it to be the MOST corrupt province. After all, there could be unreported corruption we therefore don't know about yet in all the other provinces.

    But we can't give this "we're pretty sure we're right" case (and I'm pretty sure they're right, too) a pass while complaining about the Winnipeg Free Press's "we're pretty sure that's what he meant when he said something entirely different". Well, we can, but we then look rather hypocritical.

  37. Do we hear about corruption in the construction industry in other provinces? Do we hear about politicians being paid off in other province on a fairly regular basis? Do we hear about mafia murders in other provinces? Do we hear about motorcycle gangs, with gangland style murders? When was there talk about the mafia in Alberta? Enough evidence for you now.
    Instead of attacking the message why not look at the facts.

  38. The hollinm endorsement – AKA 'The Kiss of Death'.

  39. "Kaplan, perhaps to prove your point, you could provide a counterfactual, you could cite similar cases of fraud and corruption in public contracts of a similar nature and gravity in provinces other than Quebec. I don't think you can.

    So the answer is, no, you can't. I am curious to know how you think a statement like "Quebec is the most corrupt province in Canada" could be proved or disproved 'scientifically' to anybody's satisfaction given that we are talking about crime which by its very nature is impossible to quantify. For example, Transparency International does surveys, but that's all a little too post-modern for my tastes (how do you feel about corruption) and, in any case, there is no disaggregation within countries. In the absence of both satisfactory method and reliable facts, I think all we have to assess is what is known in terms of corruption, what you call 'anecdotal' evidence, but which is evidence nevertheless. If this analysis were being done for a thesis at the post-graduate level, it would be done on the basis of exactly the evidence you reject as 'anecdotal'.

    Bottom line : if all we have to go on is what we know, and you can't show that other provinces have more of what we know is going on in Quebec than Quebec does, which is quite a lot as Wells points out, Maclean's is quite justified in making the claim "Quebec is the most corrupt province in Canada", and you don't have anything to challenge that statement with other than your opinion which is based on neither facts nor arguments.

  40. I agree with hollinm, apocalypse to follow.

  41. To clarify MacLean's was censured by the HOC because they attacked our collective sense of Nationalism. It's clear that Wells has some difficulty understanding exactly how the Magazine managed to do that. He's going over the 'feelings'…mocking them…and I think is quite sad but inevitable. There was a change and Wells must feel that in his day to day life. It's not every day that a collective emotion and identity like Nationalism has it's defenders swat away the flies. MacLean's became a dirty fly that day. A sort of odd metamorphosis from Giant Beetle to Dirty Fly…

  42. I always thought Bonhomme was a character but the Maclean's story implied that he was real live being. Very misleading… very insulting.

    You should be dragged before a Human Rights Commission.

  43. I always thought Bonhomme was a character but the Maclean's story implied that he was real live being. Very misleading… very insulting.

    You should be dragged before a Human Rights Commission.

  44. Maclean's could have, but they didn't, and they were right. Quebec is the most corrupt province. The evidence in the public record is overwhelming. And putting a question mark at the end probably wouldn't have changed the in-denial-outrage but would have weakened the impact of the magazine title. However artistic the headline was, the inside of the magazine more than proved the case.

  45. Maclean's could have, but they didn't, and they were right. Quebec is the most corrupt province. The evidence in the public record is overwhelming. And putting a question mark at the end probably wouldn't have changed the in-denial-outrage but would have weakened the impact of the magazine title. However artistic the headline was, the inside of the magazine more than proved the case.

    • What evidence in the public record – headline coverage, number of convictions, people's perceptions?

      • I see we are having an ontological disagreement here. Perhaps you're right, Jan, perhaps all the media stories about biker gangs, mafia, construction and cash in envelopes being handed over to politicians to fund their political campaigns in Quebec is all a made up reality, no doubt orchestrated by The Man (obviously an anglo) to put upstart Quebec in its place.

        Really, I want some of what you deniers are smoking.

  46. "…had Maclean's approached the corruption issue with the same rigour that it approaches its university rankings…"

    Translation : "Include all the provinces in the study, except for those that choose not to participate"

  47. What evidence in the public record – headline coverage, number of convictions, people's perceptions?

  48. Another tid-bit – have not heard of this scam in other provinces. http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/Canada/20101119/montrea

    Sorry Kaplan, but one does not even need to dig for evidence on corruption in Quebec. Mafia has been around a long time. I remember my neighbour being whisked away to jail and his house seized for "proceeds of crime" Not surprised as you don't walk around with a roll of $10,000+ in your pocket and consider it normal.

  49. Another tid-bit – have not heard of this scam in other provinces. http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/Canada/20101119/montrea

    Sorry Kaplan, but one does not even need to dig for evidence on corruption in Quebec. Mafia has been around a long time. I remember my neighbour being whisked away to jail and his house seized for "proceeds of crime" Not surprised as you don't walk around with a roll of $10,000+ in your pocket and consider it normal.

  50. And I thought only third world countries are corrupt but compared to Canada those amount seems peanuts considering exchange rates differential and the amount money available for the taking.

  51. And I thought only third world countries are corrupt but compared to Canada those amount seems peanuts considering exchange rates differential and the amount money available for the taking.

  52. I see we are having an ontological disagreement here. Perhaps you're right, Jan, perhaps all the media stories about biker gangs, mafia, construction and cash in envelopes being handed over to politicians to fund their political campaigns in Quebec is all a made up reality, no doubt orchestrated by The Man (obviously an anglo) to put upstart Quebec in its place.

    Really, I want some of what you deniers are smoking.

  53. Everywhere is floating in drug money, money laundering goes on all over Canada, so there is nothing to distinguish BC in any of that. Assassinations ? Who has been assassinated in BC ? It's not about 'smugness', it's about facts.

  54. Oh puuuhhhllleeeezzz!!!! Where are the defenders of "our collective sense of Nationalism" when Alberta is being vilified for having the audacity to extract oil from the ground?

    You're argument would simply be laughable if you weren't attempting to excuse mass corruption and graft in Quebec.

  55. Keep the heat on these clowns Wells. Perhaps Macleans can devote a new section of the mag to corruption. Something like a weekly expose of the latest allegations across Canada. Maybe this would could be used as a basis for "an objective methodology that would prove Quebec's political culture is in a unique state of disrepair."

  56. Keep the heat on these clowns Wells. Perhaps Macleans can devote a new section of the mag to corruption. Something like a weekly expose of the latest allegations across Canada. Maybe this would could be used as a basis for "an objective methodology that would prove Quebec's political culture is in a unique state of disrepair."

    • I'd be in favor of that.

  57. I am loosing my sleep over it ; )

  58. I know, shame on them, I will consider Pakistan for my next holiday ; )

  59. Jan……glad you think my comments have such an effect on the commentators on this board. It sure doesn't stop you from yapping though :-)

  60. I don't think Ezra Levant has any trouble writing articles, publishing books and getting national media exposure when he defends Alberta's oil industry.

  61. I fail to see the relevance of your point. Unless you're suggesting that people who defend Quebec are being denied the right to speak out. If that's the case, I can only laugh.

  62. I was with you there until the last paragraph, with the gratuitous drive-by slagging of "progs". Who might they be (other than a magnet of your figmentation) and what have they done/said in this case to justify the slur?

  63. I'd be in favor of that.

  64. Hey that is a great defence! I'm sure that Goldman Sacks and JPMorgan Chase use it all the time. Heck, I even used it once… in KINDERGARTEN!!!

  65. The Québec governnement is very corrupt PQ or PLQ. Our députies do not represent us any more , them refuses to help you. Our journaux refuses to publish the injustices which let us be subjeted. We are discouraged.
    Gaston Dufour, Alma, Québec.

  66. The Québec governnement is very corrupt PQ or PLQ. Our députies do not represent us any more , them refuses to help you. Our journaux refuses to publish the injustices which let us be subjeted. We are discouraged.
    Gaston Dufour, Alma, Québec.

  67. So this is all about the word "most"? All the controversy, weeping, gnashing of teeth, parliamentary resolutions, vicious letters to the editor, the whole mess could have been avoided with the headline "Quebec: Really Effing Corrupt"? I suppose it's possible. After all, I can't produce incontrovertible scientific evidence that it wouldn't have been.

  68. Corruption in Quebec only naaaaaa,the secret wee have THE BEST REPORTER in service,I am sure yours sleep on ther desk

  69. Corruption in Quebec only naaaaaa,the secret wee have THE BEST REPORTER in service,I am sure yours sleep on ther desk

  70. Reading some of the comments demonstrates how many Canadians take on their own Quebec successes and distanced themselves easily in front on Quebec's failures. I call that the Andy Murray's Syndrome, everytime he wins headlines looks like "Murray bags another one for Britain" and when he loses, espacially in Wimbledon, narratives look more like "Poor Scot shokes another time"

  71. we haven't had a credible opposition to kick over the rocks either though ;)

    sure hope the wild rose can still hold enough sway by the time stelmach has to call an election that we'll have a real contest.

  72. Oh look, more non-evidence of corruption in Canada's most non-corrupt province, Quebec, more cash to candidates, sometimes in envelopes, sometimes in big fat wads with elastic bands around them.

    But the deniers will go on denying. They want to "encourager le système d'enveloppes brunes, au fond", just as David Grégoire himself says.

  73. Oh look, more non-evidence of corruption in Canada's most non-corrupt province, Quebec, more cash to candidates, sometimes in envelopes, sometimes in big fat wads with elastic bands around them.

    But the deniers will go on denying. They want to "encourager le système d'enveloppes brunes, au fond", just as David Grégoire himself says.

  74. Hey Paul – this Quebec corruption still has legs. Hope to see some input regarding on-going parliament hill renovations now that Quebec Labour Federation is getting in the mix.
    http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/TopStories/20101123/par
    "Sauve further alleged that organized crime had infiltrated the Federation des travailleurs du Quebec, or FTQ, a large labour federation in the province."

  75. Hey Paul – this Quebec corruption still has legs. Hope to see some input regarding on-going parliament hill renovations now that Quebec Labour Federation is getting in the mix.
    http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/TopStories/20101123/par
    "Sauve further alleged that organized crime had infiltrated the Federation des travailleurs du Quebec, or FTQ, a large labour federation in the province."

  76. I'm with Kaplan here. I have a gut feeling that Nova Scotia is probably QC's equal in shenanigans, but due to the small size versus Quebec and as far as I can tell no equivalent of Montreal's magnificent muckracking crime beat journos it's not publicised as much. Other commenters' points about BC are interesting too — the province's economy is supported largely by an illegal industry, though nothing has bubbled to the surface spectacularly as it does in Quebec. But I have the gut feeling that it's only a matter of time.

  77. I'm with Kaplan here. I have a gut feeling that Nova Scotia is probably QC's equal in shenanigans, but due to the small size versus Quebec and as far as I can tell no equivalent of Montreal's magnificent muckracking crime beat journos it's not publicised as much. Other commenters' points about BC are interesting too — the province's economy is supported largely by an illegal industry, though nothing has bubbled to the surface spectacularly as it does in Quebec. But I have the gut feeling that it's only a matter of time.

  78. >this magazine ran a cover story calling Quebec the most corrupt province in Canada

    You can add BC, Alberta, Ontario, Newfoundland to the same list

  79. >this magazine ran a cover story calling Quebec the most corrupt province in Canada

    You can add BC, Alberta, Ontario, Newfoundland to the same list

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