Some things are meant to be together, like Tom Mulcair and a beard. What about Jean Charest and SNC-Lavalin? They seem like a match made in heaven. After all, they’re two of Canada’s favourites. So why would Charest deny that they worked together? Oh, because Radio Canada reports that they worked “under the table” and Charest doesn’t want that sort of association fouling his good name. What good name? We digress…
Last Friday, Radio Canada reported that Quebec’s anti-corruption police unit is investigating whether Charest was involved in an illegal Liberal party financing scheme involving SNC-Lavalin in 2002. Remember things that fit well together? Try Quebec and corruption. That relationship goes back several years, and no one can deny it. So should we fault Charest for appearing in the same sentence as the word corruption?
Back in 2002, Quebec was a far cry from the province Canadians know and love today. For one thing, the separatist movement was still alive. More importantly, at that time, Quebec was plagued by public corruption. We might reason that Jean Charest was doing what was expected of him. He was not yet Premier of Quebec, so it makes sense that he might have attempted to pull off a scheme like this in an effort to turn a few heads.
For his part, Charest will likely say this is all nonsense. In fact, the CBC reports that he described Radio Canada’s report as “tendentious.” Language like this means one of three things: (1) the report is true, but I want to seem like I’m above all that thuggery, (2) the report is so stupid I can’t be bothered to describe it with a word anyone will understand, or (3) the report is actually tendentious. The bottom line is that we need to know what tendentious means in order to know what he’s saying. That fact that we don’t proves that Charest is no longer in politics. He doesn’t give a hoot if people know what he’s talking about now.
So, how credible is this story? Well, we already know that SNC-Lavalin was involved in corrupt activity in the 2000s. We also know that Jean Charest was in Lyin’ Brian Mulroney’s cabinet. Does any of that matter? Decide for yourself, but please don’t use this as an excuse to revive the separatist movement.