What a long strange trip it’s been in Quebec politics this week. But who do we believe – a former SQ officer with a sterling reputation who went after criminal biker gangs or Quebec’s mysterious tight-lipped UPAC?
It has been a week when the speaker of the National Assembly warned that police forces must be accountable to politicians and the legislature. If not, we risk a slide into totalitarianism. That’s pretty strong stuff.
There is clearly a crisis in Quebec politics. MNA Guy Ouellette claims he has been framed by the police because he was investigating UPAC. Further, he claims there were dirty dealings involving UPAC and the AMF, Quebec’s financial watchdog.
UPAC says that’s nonsense; it did not trap Ouellette but set the bait and he took it.
Ouellette has not been charged and there is no indication if and when charges will come.
The only thing that is certain is that there is a stunning lack of information coming forth. Something stinks. The credibility of our very institutions is being undermined. When police arrest a sitting member of the legislature, it is disturbing. When police arrest the man who is chairman of the National Assembly committee overseeing UPAC, it is even worse.
Let’s hope we get some answers and soon. Our confidence is shaken.
Sunday is your day to make a difference. Many of things that you deal with in your daily life are determined at local level, so it’s important that you have your say.
Montreal obviously is the big prize. And we are fortunate to have two excellent candidates, each with their strengths and their weaknesses.
Denis Coderre has been something of a force of nature as mayor of our city, for better and for worse. When he say the city is in much better shape than it was four years ago, he is right. No argument. But he does have a tendency toward hubris, and his spending is problematic. From lights on the bridge to the Formula E to granite stumps on the mountain – and he does not take criticism well. On the other hand, you won’t find a bigger cheerleader for Montreal than Denis Coderre.
No one knew Valerie Plante just months ago. Her meteoric rise has been remarkable. She has run a near flawless campaign. Her smile is infectious and she seems to have a real feel for Montreal families. But should Montrealers hand the keys to City Hall to someone with such a lack of experience? She is focusing much of her campaign on transit. Her idea of a $6-billion pink metro line looks great on paper, but it has not passed proper scrutiny. It took decades to build the metro five kilometres to Laval. She wants 29 new stations in six years.
There is much to commend both candidates. Whoever is elected will face challenges dealing with Montreal’s growing diversity, with economic issues and high taxes and finding a way to get families to move back to the city. And there must be a clear recognition that Montreal is indeed a bilingual city, in theory and in practice.
There is much to think about whether you live in Montreal or any other town or city in Quebec this Sunday. In a world where the very foundations of liberal democracies are threatened, your vote is important. Think of the motto of the Washington Post: ‘Democracy Dies in Darkness.’
And now it’s your call.