Make the guilty pay


Corruption! It’s a worNovel Newldwide phenomenon. Go to any part of the world and people you come in contact with would have a story to tell about corruption in their particular country.
Where we live, many would agree that corruption is the norm. Just listen to or read the many stories people tell about Quebec from a historic standpoint, you would conclude that corruption has truly been a way of life for generations…
I learned from some Quebec History teachers years ago that corruption has been seeded in the Quebec landscape; in recent years we’ve had ample evidence to bear them out. Remember that Maclean’s magazine story a couple years ago (the edition with that scoundrel on the cover page running off with a briefcase of something)? It had many Quebecois(es) enraged? But recurring evidence of the reality and culture silenced them.
Various hearings over the years didn’t do much to silence the rumours, let alone eliminate, the problem of corruption.
The extended Charbonneau Commission inquiry and all that we learned is further evidence of how deeply rooted is the problem of corruption is in this city and province. And the cynics simply shrug their shoulders, stating matter-of-factly, “[…] I knew that… nothing is going to change.”
Remember those videotaped images of various characters (with city of Montreal and construction industry connections) shuffling money, some stuffing their socks with taxpayers’ money? Or seeing those City of Montreal fonctionnaires singing to Mme Charbonneau about a cabinet [at City Hall] so stuffed with “taxpayers’” money they couldn’t shut the door? And from people who should be working in our (taxpayers’) interest instead using their positions ‘opportunistically.’

The evidence was worthy of condemnation or damnation, whichever is worse.

And yet, in spite of what we heard coming out of the Charbonneau Commission, in late October came news story that the corrupt goings-on in the construction industry persist; it’s (collusion/corruption) business as usual. Then on Tuesday, November 4, I read in 24, that other newspaper found in metro stations, a headline screamed, La Ville laisse la porte ouverte à la collusion.
It’s all about engineers and others in the public and private sectors and how they conspire… The article ends this way: “The municipality must perhaps offer more attractive salaries…. It’s necessary to attract and keep them well paid….It’s not wasted money…”
I get the point! It’s an “or else.”
It’s an interesting article, read it online.
You see, not even Mme Charbonneau has the power to eradicate “the seeded culture of collusion and corruption…” that permeate the various cracks and crevices – top to bottom – of Quebec society.
Here’s another interesting example [of corruption]. It’s about a “network” in a prison in a community northwest of Montreal.
Here are the characters: A drug traffic network involving four people – the 43-year-old director of information and security at the detention center, a woman, two detainees/cohorts inside, and an outside connection. All of them were recently busted.
According to the story, beginning in November last year, the network allowed drugs (notably cocaine and morphine) to enter the prison. With the help of a 34-year-old “runner” on the outside who procured the drugs, they were then brought into the prison with the help of… the woman – and two inmates.
Here’s the juice, according to the story: the woman was involved in an intimate relationship with one of the inmates.
Call that a local example of, “innocuous corruption.” I know, I know, it’s a misnomer.
Here’s another interesting tidbit I read in October while perusing that same 24H. The headline of the story read, Pantalons sans poches contre la corruption.
It was about a well-known and reputable tailor in the city of Asuncion, Paraguay, and how he deals with that country’s political corruption.
He launched a line of clothes without pockets – none in the shirt, the pants, the jacket. His is a unique way of expressing his frustration with what we all – we in North America, he in South America – must contend with.
“Put honesty in style,” the posters in the tailor’s (he uses the moniker, Robert) nine boutiques state. “Design innovative anti-corruption.”
All who were present at an event attended by politicians were asked to wear Robert’s new spring-summer line of pocketless apparel, called Ibanez. It was their way of protesting against a politician, one José Maria Ibanez, accused of corruption. Apparently he used government money to pay his domestic employees.
To make his point, Robert invited several people to wear his new line to a reception attended by government fonctionnaires, to affirm that they are “incorruptible.”
Interesting idea, Robert, but that won’t deter people from finding ways to cheat.
You see, cheats, especially politicians and government fonctionnaires need a deterrent. Look at the Charbonneau Commission; how many people have been sanctioned, let alone charged with anything. Start counting.
Maybe all who have been called to testify, and who knowingly wallowed in millions of taxpayers’ money should be sent to China or North Korea for treatment – as dispensed according to Chinese and North Korean law. That would be a deterrent – for those who choose to continue their bad ways…
We know how China deals with those who have betrayed the trust of the people – the state.
Like that high-level Chinese military man (a former general) who has been charged with corruption. According to a news story, “General Xu Caihou is the second highest ranking officer in the Chinese army to face charges in the president’s anti-corruption campaign…” He’s probably praying right now. Time will determine his fate.
That’s the price our corrupt government officials and fonctionnaires in this part of the world should have to pay in our democratic Nirvana where corruption at all levels of society runs wild.
Corruption! It’s a reality, a way of life. It permeates the fabric of every society. But… most get away.