Quebec’s politics of injurious behaviour

In this week’s news round-up, we have threats of bodily harm.

city hall
City hall. Photo via Flickr

With something like three weeks to go until Montreal elects a new mayor, Marcel Côté took responsibility for — gasp — robocalls. In yet another case of life imitating one of the best episodes of The Simpsons, 1,000 people received calls asking them to press one if they supported the rival Projet Montréal; an automated voice apparently then explained that the party was “the subject of controversy regarding the financing of an organization” and asked if they supported such methods. For the record, roughly 150 people hit the Bergeron option and 300 the Coderre option. For his part, Côté maintained that the calls were part of a poll and apologized only for neglecting to mention the party’s official campaign agent at the beginning of the exchanges. He blamed the polling company for that.

In other election-related news, Jean-François Lisée, the PQ minister for Montreal and a supporter of the Charter of Quebec Values (natch), does not want Montreal’s mayoral candidates to weigh in on said charter. Per Lisée, because the four major candidates in the election oppose the charter, residents of the city who support will have a hard time voting. Lisée cited Jean Drapeau, who, he said, stayed silent on Bill 101, the divisive issue of his day. In fact, though, Drapeau did speak out about the bill. But whatever. If Lisée is worried about pro-charter types lacking a candidate to get behind, he need look no further than Michel Brûlé — who, unfortunately, he dismisses as a longshot.

And then there’s Laval. If you’re running for mayor there, you can probably expect a call from Gilles Vaillancourt, the guy charged with gangsterism. Vaillancourt is alleged to have contacted and met with Option Laval leader Claire Le Bel, whose staff recorded a conversation with the former mayor that took place in her office, during which the former mayor offered to help finance her campaign and break the legs of Mouvement Lavallois leader Marc Demers.

On the subject of injurious behaviour, the Charbonneau Commission was suspended until next Tuesday after Ken Pereira, a one-time union leader who’d been testifying, was hospitalized after a totally accidental fall on his own front steps that left him with cranial trauma. The police officer assigned to drive him to the hearings took him to the hospital. By pure coincidence, Pereira had been testifying about the links between Quebec’s most powerful labour unions and the province’s most organized criminals.

Oh, hey — remember all that construction on Pine? Thanks to a faulty water main, we might be  about to relive it. ■

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