Criticism of Macleans a political ploy

Last week, Macleans released an issue with a cover story entitled “The Most Corrupt Province in Canada”, arguing that Québec has a unique political culture that fosters government patronage and corruption. Even more controversial was the picture on the magazine’s cover with a cherished symbol of Québec, Bonhomme, holding a suitcase stuffed with cash.

The article outlines a history of Québec corruption starting with Maurice
Duplessis and the Union Nationale to the current scandal that is engulfing Premier Jean Charest involving illegal contributions from certain industries in Québec and bagman vetting judicial appointments.

The reality is the truth hurts. Throughout Québec’s history there has been a unique abuse of political power and excessive patronage. It is a fair criticism that Macleans did not take into account the corruption that takes place in other provinces. It is not fair to say, however, this is an instance of “Québec bashing”. Macleans did not in any way suggest that corruption is endemic of the people of Québec, but instead placed the blame on their leaders and politicians.

It is absolutely absurd that Premier Jean Charest would attack Macleans for their criticism. It is also ridiculous that Members of Parliament would censure the magazine in an attempt to score cheap political points in Québec. Those in glass houses should not throw stones.

Thankfully Québecers do not seem to share the views of the political establishment. Almost two-thirds believe corruption is systematic and widespread in the province. Instead of going through the daily ritual of political posturing, politicians should work to correct problems of corruption in Québec politics. Québecers deserve better.