In a bid to jump-start his government’s sagging popularity, Quebec Premier Jean Charest inaugurated a new legislative session last week with a sweeping speech that included everything from a promise to deliver better English-language education to gloating about the international success of local artists like Arcade Fire and filmmaker Denis Villeneuve. But on the two topics atop most Quebecers’ minds—ongoing calls for an inquiry into corruption and the future of shale gas developments—the premier devoted next to no attention. That’s where QuebecLeaks.org, a new Quebec-focused WikiLeaks imitator, hopes to come in.
By its official March 9 launch, the whistle-blower clearing house hopes to have the type of sensitive documents that could pressure Charest’s government on any number of issues. “Our objective,” the site’s mission statement reads, “is to achieve complete transparency on the part of the Quebec government. There’s too much collusion, too much corruption, and too little action.”
Though currently accepting submissions—in a Feb. 25 Twitter post, QuebecLeaks admitted it had yet to land a big scoop—little is known about the people (or person) behind QuebecLeaks. But Québec Solidaire MNA Amir Khadir hopes the website’s revelations will eventually make it impossible for the Liberals to keep resisting calls for an inquiry into alleged corruption. “Every new revelation,” he says, “undermines even the most skilled politician’s ability to recover from these attacks.”
With his party trailing badly in the polls—the latest CROP survey shows the Parti Québécois with a 13-point lead on the Liberals—Charest was already facing the difficult job of righting the provincial Liberal party ship this spring. The last thing he needs is to spend the next few months plugging leaks.