Everybody's got a price (Updated) - Macleans.ca

Everybody’s got a price (Updated)

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As I was watching my beloved Habs drop yet another game last Thursday—seriously guys, Colorado?—the same Loto-Québec commercial kept coming on every time there was a break in the game. There wasn’t anything inherently interesting about it except for one of its stars: Jacques Demers. Pardon me, make that Senator Jacques Demers.

Apparently, Demers’s gigs at RDS, the Senate, and the car delearship just aren’t paying the wealthy former coach’s bills anymore. Besides, God forbid he be asked to sacrifice a paycheque or two in exchange for the six-figure salary he’ll be earning in the Senate.

Though I think highly of many individual senators, I’m not enamoured with the Senate as an institution. Stephen Harper, on the other hand, evidently loathes everything about it. What else could possibly explain the nomination of a barely-literate former hockey coach-cum-analyst with no discernible knowledge of (or interest in) politics to the Senate? And what else could justify telling him he shouldn’t even bother pretending to take the job seriously and turn down two-bit opportunities to hawk lotto tickets and used cars? Seriously, I’d love to know.

UPDATE: A Liberal reader emailed to note that Demers had an especially hard time making up his mind when the issue of VLTs, which add more than a $1 billion to Loto-Québéc’s bottom line, came up in the Senate earlier this month. Demers has—oddly enough, given his role as Loto-Québec pitchman—expressed some interest in tackling problem gambling, most recently on Tout le monde en parle. Still, he ended up abstaining from a vote on a Liberal-supported bill that would have restricted where the terminals can pop up after he was gently reminded by fellow Tories his party wasn’t in favour of it. “Of course,” he told CP by way of explanation, “I want to be a team player for the Conservatives.”