MacLean's Allegations of Corruption: Is It Really a Debate?


MacLean’s dropped a bomb lately: an article boldly entitled Quebec: The Most Corrupt Province. The blast was strong, and swept many Quebecois journalists and the population off it’s feet promptly. Opinions are varied, but what we hear most often on the open lines and editorials is the following ridiculous reponse: “How dare those Anglos call us corrupt?”

As a Quebecois myself (french mothertounge, none the less), I am surprised by this reaction. How is it that we, the survivors of constant English opression (more on this in another article), have such a thin hide? The truth is that Quebec is very succeptible, specially when it comes to recieving criticism from the outside. Sitting is front of TVA news, it’s very easy for a Quebec to bitch and moan about everything; the current state of widespread cynisme regarding politics is proof that Quebecois are either 1) aware of corruption and just don’t care, or 2) living in blissful ignorance, content with the status quo. We can call our own system out, but god forbid that some other group criticize us… that would be Quebec bashing, trampling the french-speaking minority, oppression from the conglomerate of Anglo Federalist provinces. Oh please, give me a break.

People have been going as far as canceling their cell phone subscriptions with Rogers and Fido (Rogers is the owner of both, and also owner of MacLean’s), and our prime minister the Honorable James John Charest has gone as fars as to publish an open letter to the publisher rambling about Quebec’s accomplishments and demanding that the author excuse himself. The letter is meaningless, because as we all known, Jean Charest included, success and accomplishment can coexist with corruption. Furthermore, the open letter is a very bold move for somebody who is currently appearing in a parlimentary comission on corruption in the nomination of provincial court judges (visibly tailored to fit Mr. Charest) and who has repeatedly refused an investigation about more brown-envelope passing in the construction industry. What I’m seeing here is a PM that desperately wants to get support from the public who are ready to kick him out of power with a swift kick to the ass. I won’t even mention the legal threats on the alleged copyright infringement on the intellectual property that is the Bonhomme Carnaval. This whole thing is becoming ridiculous and out of hand.

Besides even if the article were exagerated, journalism and public relations are gentlemen’s sports: you play by the rules, and if you get hit under the belt, you reply with a harder hit that fits within the rules; whining isn’t an option. Sensationalist journalism throws shit in the fan… but you only get dirty if you’re in the room where it happens. You want to make a strong point? Let’s disprove the allegations, sweep it off with the back of our hands… it should be easy, Quebec isn’t corrupt at all, right?