Charbonneau Commission - corruption, criminals, and politicians

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KenS

Quote:

Harel held a press conference at Montreal's city hall following the arrests to say she does not want the city to be placed under provincial trusteeship. She says an interim mayor should be chosen by city council.

I can understand her sentiment. Don't know the politics involved, but you have to think that at this point the Council does not have a lot of leverage with the government.

Mr_R

When will Tomatobaum resign?

NorthReport

Bye, Mayor of Montreal, we hardly knew ya!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Applebaum

lagatta

I've never heard of a Tomato tree...

cco

If we lose a third mayor by election day, we get a free poutine.

lagatta

A HAT TRICK!

I hate poutine - can I have a different prize?

cco

Name your poison. :D (Unless it's "a mayor who isn't corrupt". I think we're fresh out of those.)

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

How about a hit on the pipe Ford used?

janfromthebruce

kropotkin1951 wrote:

How about a hit on the pipe Ford used?

you crack me up Krop Laughing

lagatta

My poison this time of day is some of that fucking coffee, hopefully without a firebomb if I decide to really treat myself and partake in it at a nearby caffè.

Later on, it would be a fine glass of vino, as well as some foodstuff containing carefully aged CHEESE. Cool

cco

So I just read a pair of articles by Henry Aubin of The Gazette. In the first one, he criticizes Lafrenière's timing in arresting Applebaum basically because "it makes the city look bad", and asks whether he couldn't have waited until November, after everyone had voted (and there would be less election-day stink on ex-Union members). Like having a mayor who was essentially universally known to be a crook didn't make us look bad as a city? UPAC raided his offices in March; it's not like this was some kind of big secret.

In the second one, Aubin calls for the abolition of municipal parties, except for Project Montréal. You know, to make things run more smoothly, and all. He says Projet gets a pass because it's "ideological" (unquestioning endorsement of sleaze and corruption isn't an ideology, apparently).

I've been entertaining an alternative hypothesis. Perhaps the angryphones at the Gazette editorial board want most municipal parties dissolved because that makes it harder for citizens to know how to vote against Team Mafia. (Even with Union dissolved now, I'm hoping some of that stink will stick to what's mostly now Team Coderre.) They'd like Projet to stick around, by contrast, so it makes it easier to know how to vote against Team Evil Commie.

Just a thought.

lagatta

Yes, I am also very suspicious about the idea of abolishing municipal parties. It is no secret that I'm a Projet Montréal supporter (though on some issues I think they are too moderate...). Henry Aubin used to write good articles and books about urban planning issues, the real owners of Mtl, etc, but he has become increasingly reactionary as time goes by, and not just in terms of his friendship with the disgusting pig in white gloves and pearls, meddling busybody Margaret Somerville. He actually wrote an anti-cycling column some time ago (lagatta sent off a sharp but well-researched letter). I don't mean against idiot cyclists who blow through red lights or ride on busy sidewalks, but against cycling as part of the solution to urban problems. Asshole.

What is important about nabbing Michael Applebaum is getting to the root of how real estate wheeling and dealing steals from the city's residents and in particular those with the fewest resources, as it fuels speculaton, building condos alone rather than rental housing and in particular much-needed social housing. Evidently the condo development behind this arrest is located in an area set aside for student housing.

Unfortunately elected officials have every interest in fuelling speculation and preference to wealhier residents, as that means a bigger tax base for the city and its boroughs. Both parts of Applebaum's borough, Côte-des-Neiges and Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, have considerable spreads between prosperous areas and pockets of serious poverty.

cco

So we have our new mayor: Laurent Blanchard, who may or may not keep his post as executive committee chair (guess we're really trying to emulate France). Louise Harel calls it a "victory for the coalition". All of a sudden I'm understanding how the Harperites felt a few years back when they heard that word. :)

Apropos of nothing, it's mildly annoying to me when RDI always cuts away from (or, far more rarely, dubs) the English parts of live press conferences. If it were something federal I could flip back and forth to Newsworld, but of course, none of the English stations bother to carry anything Québécois live. One of my CPAC stations delivers the floor audio sans traduction; maybe RDI could have a SAP or something for the bilingual, like many American TV stations do to provide Spanish dubbing.

lagatta

Yes, I was getting annoyed between Radio-Canada and CBC Montreal, but Mr Blanchard speaks such poor English that the French translation was more comprehensible. What is most annoying is when they do that for someone truly bilingual (Alex Norris comes to mind; François Croteau is not as bilingual, but his English is fairly fluent and nuanced).

Of course if it is Justin Trudeau, well, he may be bilingual (though he sounds stilted in both languages) but such pablum indicates a time to go water my balcony garden...

Perhaps you could watch it in French while listening to CBC Mtl radio?

Unionist

Meh... After our first Anglo Jewish Mayor, I was kinda hoping for the Lebanese-Armenian guy, Հարութ Շիթիլյան, aka Harout Chitilian. And at 32ish, he might have been the youngest?

Anyway, I'll settle for anyone who serves till November without getting arrested.

 

janfromthebruce

Unionist wrote:

Meh... After our first Anglo Jewish Mayor, I was kinda hoping for the Lebanese-Armenian guy, Հարութ Շիթիլյան, aka Harout Chitilian. And at 32ish, he might have been the youngest?

Anyway, I'll settle for anyone who serves till November without getting arrested.

 

yes, it's a real "step up"!

lagatta

I'm certain he is the youngest in the field (but not the youngest council member). François Croteau looks young, but I think he has reached 40. Mr Blanchard looks ancient, which is upsetting as he is only a couple of years older than I am...

 

cco

lagatta wrote:

Perhaps you could watch it in French while listening to CBC Mtl radio?

That's a thought, though I usually listen to the "radio" on my TV, through Vidéotron's digital channels (in addition to their music stations, they also carry most of the major local stations, including CBC). The speakers on my TV are great, and the only other radio I have in the place is an ancient shortwave set that has AM and FM settings as well. It'd be a pain to haul that thing out for every press conference. Maybe I can futz with the picture-in-picture settings...

cco

Ugh. Why are the corrupt always such cheapskates? It's not like Laval doesn't have the money to spare. Pay him or her the market rate. Aren't there enough eyes on you already?

Unionist

Now for some much-needed thread drift. You will recall that Alexandre Duplessis was named interim mayor of Laval (Québec's fourth-largest city) last November, after the resignation of long-reigning mayor Gilles Vaillancourt, who was arrested last month on charges including gangsterism. Duplessis then asked the province to place Laval under trusteeship.

[url=http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Laval+interim+mayor+files+extortion+...'s interim mayor files extortion complaint[/url]

Quote:

Laval interim mayor Alexandre Duplessis confirmed on Thursday that he filed a complaint of extortion with the police after TVA television network reported the news.

But while a spokesperson for Duplessis offered no detail on what led to the complaint, the station reported the alleged incident took place between a sex worker, the person’s driver and Duplessis, after the mayor allegedly asked the sex worker to come to his residence to provide services. [...]

What sparked the news report on Duplessis on Thursday was an interview by TVA talk-show host and crime reporter Claude Poirier with someone claiming to be the cousin of one of the people being investigated by police in an attempted extortion complaint filed by an elected official. The cousin said the elected official received the sex worker at his residence wearing a dress.

 

Unionist

Apparently he didn't pay because... it never happened... or something...

[url=http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/montreal/Laval+Mayor+Duplessis+respo... Mayor Duplessis will not resign over extortion case: I never solicited a prostitute, embattled mayor says [/url]

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

The real question is was there an attempt to extort someone. As long as he breaks no laws he can hire an escort and if he likes to gender identify differently sometimes it is a private matter. However as a elected politician either one could alter ones chances in an close election.

But enough of the serious side. Do we have a video and was there a crack pipe involved? Does anyone know if the cousin's name was Vinny.

Quote:

What sparked the news report on Duplessis on Thursday was an interview by TVA talk-show host and crime reporter Claude Poirier with someone claiming to be the cousin of one of the people being investigated by police in an attempted extortion complaint filed by an elected official. The cousin said the elected official received the sex worker at his residence wearing a dress.

http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Laval+interim+mayor+files+extortion+...

Unionist

It's kinda academic now.

[url=http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Laval+mayor+Alexandre+Duplessis+resi...'s gone.[/url]

Next!

ETA: On a more important note - THIS:

Quote:
The cousin said the elected official received the sex worker at his residence wearing a dress.

... contains what we call a dangling modifier. We don't know, for absolute certain, whether the alleged dress was allegedly worn by the elected official, the sex worker, the cousin, or indeed the residence.

Accordingly, I would recommend that Duplessis's resignation not be accepted by Laval City Council until such time as this flagrant ambiguity is resolved.

 

cco

Maybe Laval will get that hat trick before we do.

Unionist, my mother would roll over in her grave at that, were she dead.

Unionist

cco wrote:

Maybe Laval will get that hat trick before we do.

Nooo waaayyyy!! I'm starting a campaign for Blanchard to resign!! Are you in!?

 

cco

All the way. I'll take the over/under for August 11th.

Bärlüer

If they choose Basile Angelopoulos as mayor, I really wouldn't be surprised if "something" came up... He was quite close to Vaillancourt and was actually supposed to succeed to Vaillancourt.

lagatta

They all were. There was no elected opposition in Laval, a city of what, 300,000 people?

Unionist

I love this:

[url=http://www.lapresse.ca/actualites/dossiers/commission-charbonneau/201306... squad raids the Charbonneau Commission to retrieve $720,000 handed over by a witness[/url]

I won't even bother translating it. You wouldn't believe it. Only in Québec.

cco

Amazing. When anti-corruption is corrupt, only the corrupt will be anti-corruption...or something...

cco

Two sex workers arrested because of Duplessis's embarrassment

Quote:
Julie Cadieux, 32, and Nathalie Paquin, 44, are charged with extorting or attempting to extort Duplessis, through threats, accusations, menaces or violence.

Both women are also charged with breaking and entering, as well as conspiracy.

Cadieux is also charged with possession of methamphetamines with intent to traffic.

Duplessis is so disgusting. You've already resigned; just own your proclivities. How many people in this province would really care? Why do you have to ruin these women's lives just because you got caught?

cco

SPVM anti-gang unit renting their office space from the gangsters they're supposedly investigating

Quote:

Real estate records show the building is owned by the Armeni Family Trust, headed by Vincenzo Armeni, who is serving a 19-year prison term for his latest drug-trafficking conviction, and his wife, Giuseppina Vaccarello.

The Armenis have been the Montreal Police’s landlord since 1998, when Natale Armeni signed a 10-year lease with the now-defunct Montreal Urban Community to open a neighbourhood police station.

cco

Looks like M. Aubin's been shown the door, not due to his questionable journalistic ethics, but merely because nobody reads newspapers anymore.

lagatta

I confess I'll miss Janet Bagnall a lot more. I wonder what she will be doing.

Henry Aubin has worked for the Gazette for 40 years, and is certainly of an age when retirement is plausible. And, as for many journalists and writers, it will just be a semi-retirement, as he is continuing with a weekly column.

Aubin has written some decent stuff in decades past, but is becoming ever more the reactionary curmudgeon. He is a friend of the deplorable Margaret Somerville, and has written similar foetus-fetishist crap.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

I'm not sure if babblers are aware (or if this is the right thread for it) but rabble's burgeoning Quebec correspondent, Ethan Cox (aka babble's own Socrates) has taken a hiatus from writing and journalism to work on the Projet Montréal campaign. Good luck, Ethan!

cco

Ethan's a personal friend. Bonne chance!

lagatta

I'll be looking forward to hearing his input there www.projetmontreal.org

Unionist

The popcorn industry is booming again, with the resumption this week of the Charbonneau Commission hearings. This morning:

[url=http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Charbonneau+Commission+gets+lesson+s... Commission gets a lesson in how to spot a member of the Hell's Angels[/url]

And I forgot to post about the latest victim of the hearings. Québec City mayor Régis Labeaume had to turf one of his star candidates for the next municipal elections - François Paulhus, civil engineer - who was named by a witness as having headed up a collusion network in Gatineau:

[url=http://www.fm93.com/regional/nouvelles/labeaume-expulse-un-candidat-vede... (in French)[/url]

 

 

janfromthebruce

Quebec Corruption Suspects Gave $2 Million To Federal Parties

The Canadian Press analysis revealed a precipitous plunge in donations in three stages: contributions from those now charged fell after the 2003 reform; fell again after the 2006 reform; and stayed low until they disappeared almost entirely after 2009, when the corruption scandals erupted in Quebec.

The Liberals, who held power from 1993 until 2006, received the most donations.

Varying smaller amounts went to the old Progressive Conservatives; the Bloc Quebecois; the current Conservative party, and its precursors the Canadian Reform Conservative Alliance and the Reform party.

The NDP and Green party, meanwhile, did not receive registered donations from the individuals and companies charged in Quebec.

snip

Another allegation came from the lips of the then-vice-president of Dessau Inc., one of the largest engineering-construction firms in Canada.

Rosaire Sauriol explained during testimony how he used fake-billing schemes to pump $2 million from the company into the coffers of provincial and municipal parties.

During his March appearance at the inquiry, Sauriol was asked whether he used the same strategy to channel money to federal parties and he replied: "Yes."

Such illegal donations would not have appeared in the Elections Canada database pored through by The Canadian Press.

No further details about federal contributions emerged from Sauriol's testimony.

snip

Records from Elections Canada show he personally gave two federal donations to the Bloc — for a total of $304. His family's company, Dessau, and its subsidiaries contributed a total of $246,368 to federal parties through 2006, primarily to the Liberals, and to a lesser extent the Progressive Conservatives and the Bloc.

snip

While questioning witnesses, Charbonneau commission lawyers have twice raised the name of Conservative Sen. Leo Housakos. He has not been accused of any wrongdoing and they did not explain why they were asking about him.

A commission lawyer suddenly started questioning the head of the BPR engineering company about Housakos' previous work at the firm and his appointment to the Senate.

Sources have told The Canadian Press that the senator helped organize a lucrative 2009 Conservative fundraiser — featuring a speech by Prime Minister Stephen Harper — that was attended by numerous engineering-industry employees.

snip

The federal ethics officer, meanwhile, cleared Housakos in 2009 of any conflict of interest related to his time at BPR.

Housakos has since expressed frustration at what he describes as a smear-by-association campaign and a "witch-hunt" atmosphere around the inquiry.

Housakos has also threatened to sue different media, including The Canadian Press, over their news reports about the inquiry testimony.

The list of construction-industry players at that fundraiser included Sauriol and former SNC-Lavalin boss Pierre Duhaime, who is now facing fraud charges.

snip

The elections watchdog, meanwhile, announced last week that it laid seven charges against the official agent for defeated Liberal candidate Jean-Claude Gobe in the Laval, Que., riding of Alfred-Pellan in the 2006 election.

Among the charges, Elections Canada alleges that the official agent, Jacques Chouinard, failed to open a separate bank account in a Canadian financial institution solely for Gobe's campaign.

Gobe is now running for mayor of Laval in the November municipal election, seeking to replace two recent predecessors who successively resigned in scandal.

snip

Gilles Cloutier (and Liberal party bagman - see reference below), a retired engineering executive and political organizer, testified that the industry systematically bankrolled municipal election bids illegally; then, once its allies took office, companies cashed in on rigged infrastructure contracts.

He said he then used political donations to make connections at the provincial level, and would lobby his contacts at that level of government to fund municipal projects he'd lined up.

snip

Cloutier mentioned during his testimony that he worked on federal election campaigns. Commission lawyers did not probe him for details about his role in national politics.

Gilles Cloutier tells Charbonneau commission he lied on stand about waterfront property

The Liberal bagman has already admitted to rigging Quebec’s political system since the 1950s

To recap, Cloutier was a Liberal party bagman who is charged with corruption and outs the whole corrupt system - turnkey strategy of illegal donations to gain favour and contracts. Many of those charged were donors to the federal liberals - who gained the most donations.

I have to say it, we have the federal Liberals loudly complaining of dirty election tricks and voter suppression for the HarperCons 2011 election, and yet here we have a "get out the vote strategy"

system that nearly always guaranteed success for his candidates, who he supported with the understanding that they would repay the favour with municipal contracts for his employer, one of two engineering firms.

Quebec judge under review over election fraud accusations

Cloutier sees nothing wrong with his actions. So whether it's get out the vote (with illegal donations) or suppressing the vote (with robocalls), it's still corrupt.

And yet, we have again MSM bagging for Conservatives or Liberals because ---- fill in your best guess.

janfromthebruce

Most federal donations from Quebec corruption suspects went to federal Liberals

An analysis by The Canadian Press has found that the Liberals received 85 per cent, or $1.86-million, of the nearly $2.18-million in registered contributions between 1993 and 2011 from the dozens of people and companies charged as a result of recent investigations by Quebec’s anti-corruption police squad.

Elections Canada records from that same period, during which the Liberals were mostly in power, show that smaller amounts went to other parties.

The modern Conservative party got $39,945 and its predecessors, the PCs and Reform/Canadian Alliance, received $211,274 and $15,120 respectively. The Bloc Quebecois got $54,579.

Neither the New Democratic Party, nor the Greens, received donations from the people and companies facing present-day charges.

Those contributions began to dry up after 2003 – when new laws limiting political donations were gradually brought in, first by the Chretien Liberals and then the Harper Tories.

With Chretien and the Liberals getting repeated bad press on the Sponsorship Scandal just thinking that perhaps Chretien saw the writing on the wall and realized they had another wave of corruption was coming down the pipe and thought best clean election financing up before he went off to happy retirement.

The Liberals, who out-raised their rival parties, combined, by a ratio of 47-to-one among those donors in 2003, saw that towering advantage whittled down in conjunction with their subsequent political fortunes.

Subsequent political fortunes of "corruption" and downward slide.

The NDP has reacted to the findings.

It is calling on Elections Canada to investigate whether any of those donors inflated the cost of public projects, or received contracts in exchange for contributions.

“We find it extremely sketchy that once again the Liberals and Conservatives are implicated with people who had extremely questionable practices in the past,” Montreal New Democrat MP Alexandre Boulerice said Thursday.

“We want to know if they got favoured treatment from either the Liberals or the Conservatives in exchange for this money. For us, it’s more confirmation that the Liberals and the Conservatives are one and the same, and it’s time to do politics differently.”

Here's where the "dirty money" went:

The Canadian Press also analyzed which federal riding associations received the most donations from people and firms charged following investigations by Quebec’s anti-corruption police unit.

Here are the ridings that received the most money (minimum of $10,000 worth of donations):

  • 1) Outremont: $48,196.56, all to the Liberals.
  • 2) Bourassa: $46,808.56, all to the Liberals.
  • 3) Papineau-Saint-Denis/Papineau: $23,931.01, all to the Liberals.
  • 4) Laval-Centre: $23,827.04, most to the Liberals, some to the Bloc, and one donation to the old PCs.
  • 5) Laval-East: $21,974.16, most to the Liberals and less than one-quarter to the Bloc.
  • 6) Terrebonne-Blainville: $19,042.25, most to the Liberals, with Bloc and Conservatives getting less than $2,000 each.
  • 7) Saint-Leonard/Saint-Leonard-Saint-Michel: $17,978.44, all to the Liberals.
  • 8) Chambly/Chambly-Borduas: $15,135.17, all to the Liberals.
  • 9) Montcalm: $13,203.14, two-thirds to the Bloc, the rest to the Liberals.
  • 10) Laval-West: $13,084.31, most to the Liberals, less than one-tenth to the PCs.
  • 11) Riviere-des-Milles-Iles: $11,473.06, more than one-third to the Conservatives, less than one-third to the Liberals, less than one-quarter to the Bloc, $1,000 to the old PCs.
  • 12) Quebec: $10,331.95, almost all to the Liberals, barely one per cent to the old PCs.

Just like "fork & spoon", two peas in a pod.

cco

PLQ headquarters raided; police question Couillard

Quote:
Commenting on the July raid, which he did not disclose to all the Liberal MNAs at the time, Couillard said none of his MNAs were questioned and he does not know whom the raids targeted. “Not only I don’t know, but I don’t want to know,” Couillard said.

Liberals: Really, We Don't Want To Know.

Unionist

Michel Arsenault is stepping down as president of the FTQ.

Wow.

lagatta

Incredible! By the way, I've known contender Claude Généreux for many years. He was a young leftie, and as far as I know, he is still a good guy.

And this, of course, is Coderre's riding: Bourassa: $46,808.56, all to the Liberals. Mr Clean, eh? To say nothing of Trudeau in Papineau...

Unionist

Arsenault is pushing Daniel Boyer, secretary-general of the FTQ, to replace him.

cco

Ex-City construction worker admits to lying during Charbonneau Commission

Quote:
François Thériault, a site supervisor who worked for the City of Montreal, has pleaded guilty to charges of fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud and breach of trust. He also pleaded guilty to perjury, admitting to lying under oath at the Charbonneau Commission in 2012.

Although he hasn’t been sentenced yet, he’s facing a 12 year jail term and must pay a fine of $30,000.

Aristotleded24

Hey cco, good to hear from you after all this time. I hope things are going well for you!Smile

cco

Thanks! Haven't been on as much lately due to a variety of medical issues, but for the moment, spring's (almost) in the air and things are looking up.

Aristotleded24

cco wrote:
Haven't been on as much lately due to a variety of medical issues

Do get well!

lagatta

Do get well; if not you might find yourself in the midst of a superhospital scandal!

Unionist

So, after 261 days of hearing, 291 witnesses, and 66,000+ pages of documentary evidence... the final report:

[url=http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/charbonneau-corruption-inquiry-fi... commission finds corruption widespread in Quebec's construction sector[/url]

It's 1,741 pages long (en français), and has 60 recommendations.

My initial conclusion:

Anti-climax.

This is one of those cases where the movie came out before the book, and the movie was better.

Interestingly, the two commissioners couldn't even agree whether there was a direct or indirect link in the evidence between financing of political parties and the granting of contracts.

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