Lise Thibault, former Lieutenant-Governor of Quebec (pronounced “leftenant” if you speak English and “la calisse de la Reine” if you speak Québécois) will be going to court, after a judge determined that she will never be royal.
Like virtually all members of the Canadian political class, she was charged with fraud and breach of trust for several hundred thousand dollars in improper spending expenses. Colloquially, this is known as a “spending scandal,” apparently a bizarre, taxpayer-hating rite of passage.
So what did Lise Thibault do exactly? Well, she faked it until she made it (here, “it” refers to being royal). Thibault stayed in a realcastle, the Chateau Frontenac Hotel in Quebec City, when she was named Lieutenant-Governor. As this position required her to work in Quebec City, she soon after moved to outside the city limits, and billed the government $500/month for the travel/living expenses, in addition to the $4,000 monthly housing allowance she was already receiving from the province, and the $800 in fixed costs every month.
All in all, she received $700,000 in reimbursements for activities that had nothing to do with her role, including everything from events, such as birthday parties and funerals, to the worms and fishing rods she bought at hunting shops.
So, what was she to do when the big bad government came knocking on her door to ask for the money back? She declared that she had royal immunity! Her argument was inventive; by being the highest representative of the Queen in the land (er, province), she couldn’t possibly be charged by the government she was technically in charge of. It would be The Crown v. A Representative of the Crown. Because she couldn’t sue herself (and because public officials in Canada should be beyond criticism and reproach), the charges should be dropped, and we could all go back to complaining about, er, something. Probably the concentration of executive power.
In any case, a judge says that the argument doesn’t hold any water, and that she needs a trial. The Supreme Court refused to hear Thibault’s case last May, so it looks like Thibault will have her day in court.
On the plus side, if convicted, I’m pretty sure she’ll meet all the criteria for appointment to the Senate.