It’s got scandal! It’s got shady characters holding shady meetings in the shadows! It’s got intrigue! It’s got the potential to bring down the wealthy and powerful! It’s the Bastarache Commission and it’s the biggest thing happening in Quebec politics right now and I really couldn’t care less about it.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for entertaining uses of taxpayers’ money like grown men and women in suits analyzing scribbles and trying to determine which hockey game the justice minister was at when he wrote them. I’m also strongly in favour of anything that might get Jean Charest busted or at least taken down a notch, but this, sadly, isn’t it.
This tale of influence peddling in the nomination of judges is nothing more than a distraction. A scandal manufactured to deflect attention from another scandal that has way more meat: collusion and corruption in the construction industry. It’s also an excuse for the Liberal bullies to gang up on Marc Bellemare and have fun destroying his reputation for daring to step out of line.
Even if it did go south on them and somehow managed to bring down the government (after all, they did get Al Capone on tax evasion) it still wouldn’t matter. Why? Because this is Quebec and power has been going back and forth between two equally corrupt, capitalist and unprogressive parties for decades.
The PQ and the PLQ have managed to distract from the real issues by keeping most of the debate centered on language and separation. The rest of Montreal and Trudeau-ite francophone federalists will keep voting for the “libs” while Montreal separatist intellectuals and rural francophones will vote PQ (unless the leader’s gay, but I digress).
Quebec Solidaire offers a real alternative (and actually took matters into their own hands, asking the SQ to investigate Charest and Co.) as does the Green Party, but unfortunately, the smokescreen created by the non-issues still continues to distract the discourse. Jean Charest has been doing some real sketchy things lately, too, like imposing a user fee for doctors’ visits, but again, that gets lost in the circus of Bastarache.
The fact that two parties have been able to use trivialities to distract the public and stay in power for so long is the real juicy scandal. Until people clue in, though, we’re stuck looking a scribbles.