Friday, May 31, 2013

party animal




The main problem with teenagers is the fact that they have a social life.
At least the older boy has a social life.
Since I am a nun in  a room full of books and rotting papers, there is not one reason for me to go out except to take older boy to his prescribed parties.
I call them prescribed parties because he feels the need to prescribe them to himself after studying for five seconds.

Since we are in the final sprint before the final exams  I was hoping he would not party until the final exams were done--- but no such luck.
He is going out.
I have to drop him off.
He has a drama production tomorrow.
And who knows when he will study?

I am pooped.
The bills have to be paid.
We are going to Calgary on Monday.
Younger boy’s grade 9 graduation is on next Friday.
Well, I guess I feel old.
When they were babies, I never thought about how it would be when they became adults.
Now I know.
Older boy is seventeen.
Younger boy is fourteen.
It feels odd.

They aren’t really adults.
They aren’t babies.

But they aren’t even pre-adults either.

Sigh.
They’re teenagers.

What are teenagers?
Soft boiled adults.

I have to go drop older boy now.
I feel very old.

God knows we had a long talk about maybe settling down to study now but it did not work. Since I cannot force him to work and since he was using the sad puppy look, I gave in.

What the heck?
The kid is a party animal.
I just hope younger boy remains oblivious to females for the next few years.

mystery



The garden has grown a bushy beard of Solomon's Seals that overwhelm the purple iris that were last year very inclined to rot but judicious yanking of the wet mushy tubers last year prevented their whole scale destruction and some of them have made a stand of purple pen tips that try to emerge out of the canopy above them. 

The blue clematis has sprung her coils about the maple tree that suddenly attained a thin majority of leaves this year. The side of the garden by the fence is full of the seeds sprout of the bird feeder product and I am ashamed of the proliferation of the grasses thereabout. The Catalpa is like a dead thing right now and I can’t see anything growing on her thin limbs. The darn tree is fussy and won’t grow until she is absolutely sure she is the last thing to pop up her shooting leaves that she will then rave for the end of June before kicking the bucket soon after. It is disheartening having that Catalpa which I believe is very weedy in other places but in my garden seems to assume a Prima Donna role with rare and transitory appearances. 


The garden exhausts me right now. I went out and yanked a few onions that were daring to come out near the ferns but then I stopped since I did not know if they were my purple allium shoots or the real nasty onions that grow from the original bag of onions that I got from Sobeys. That onion set has been rather like a curse in the garden and I am forever pulling out onions that I either compost or try to give away much like I imagine zucchini growers give away their nubile fingers of vegetables.


The chives are splitting into armies all over the place and even their small fluff-balls of purple heads don’t make me feel like keeping them around. The empty flower pots are full of volunteers that I do not want. There has been not one minute to think about the seeds I have not planted. The rain is predicted to happen this weekend so this is an ideal time to squish a few nasturtium seeds into the side empty flower bed but I haven’t bothered. Instead I have been locked up doing laundry before they get misted again. There may be a time when the house is not full of laundry such as when I am eighty years old and the boys are being taken care of by their wives but for now the two teenage boys generate enough laundry to make me wonder if I should have become a mother at all –because what woman would become a mother if she had had a glimpse of the long road full of laundry baskets full of dirty jeans, T-shirts, shorts, etc that had to be done because boys are very much like girls and cannot tolerate to wear one outfit for more than an hour at a time. I was under the mistaken idea that boys never bothered about their looks and that clothes would be a desultory topic for these brave souls. Instead I find the older boy featured in the mirror whenever I turn and the clothes piled up in his room like the spoils of an ongoing war to model the entire clothing displays of a small mall.

I was going to copy a book but the damn dog is yapping next door and I have the music on high to drown out his yapping and it is hard to concentrate on writing out a book and listening to a song as well as muffling out the dog and it is much easier to sit here and write my quota.


A habit is a strange thing.
I had a hard time beginning to sit.
Then after I sat for years, I got to write.
Then the writing that came was crappy so it made me upset and I had to write more and read more to improve the crappy writing.
Finally I fell in love with poetry and the habit has a stranglehold on me because without the density of words and the imagery they create how am I to go on?
The sanctuary of poetry is the lure that keeps me here.


Outside it is very green and evocative of summer except for the unclean clouds and the fact that the mud puddle that is the new area near the playground is not very festive or indicative of future heat.
The alliums at least have decided it must be time because they are finally here and it is almost June and they are just beginning their time travel into space with their pods of purple.

The scilla mysteriously have shut their blue eyes but at least one of the blue lilacs is now blue (the other two refused to bloom) and the clematis by the maple tree is also blue and really with all this blue I cannot be blue.

Once my delphiniums come up blue I will be in blue forever.

a blue thumb
and a blue vine
might be riches

and a blue delphinium

to keep me pure
the soul is blue
(if I am good)

and a blue delphinium

is almost an excess then
I could be satisfied
with the blue scilla

on their plates of mud
or the blue lilac
that has a froth of blue blooms

and a blue delphinium

(I think I still need a stalk
reaching up to the blue sky)
and then yet again this might be too much

and a blue delphinium

might be the final line
of the search for blue
that starts and ends with the blue soul within



Really blue is a very hooking word and feel and mood.
I could sing blue all the time.
I have read a book while I was doing laundry.
I picked it up because it spoke to me about the will. 
I have a lot of will.

I can will  myself to keep going with very little or even no encouragement because once I believe in something I will work endlessly to the end of the work.
The work --of course is mysterious and this makes it a long process.
What am I working on?
What do any of us work on?

Here is a bustling market place of a garden where the scilla have slipped away, to be replaced by the shooting space ships of the alliums that have purple flares that are a different color from the purple ink nibs of the iris.  I have spent most of my life among a few perennials and making dirt rich so that there would be food for these perennials.  Now I am in a different garden. The damn dog is yapping and I yell at him to shut up. I know this is rude but I see no reason for my peace and quiet to be interrupted by the poor habits of that dog. 

Now where was I?

I will go write out that book.
I like to write out a book when I am thinking about the will.
The same will that ties me to the chair and gets me to write.
One day I will wake up and there will be ten million posts that I have written and I will know what it was I was doing when I sat down and began the mystery of writing poetry.

 

I write to Mr. Harper about things I want done





From: Julie Ali [mailto:julie.ali@]
Sent: May-31-13 12:06 PM
To: 'pm@pm.gc.ca'
Cc: 'premier@gov.bc.ca'; 'premier@leg.gov.mb.ca'; 'premier@gnb.ca'; 'premier@gov.nl.ca'; 'premier@gov.nt.ca'; 'ddexter.mla@gmail.com'; 'premier@gov.nu.ca'; 'premier@ontario.ca'; 'premier@gov.pe.ca'; 'premier@gov.sk.ca'; 'premier@gov.yk.ca'; 'del.graff@gov.ab.ca'; 'stephen.mandel@edmonton.ca'; 'linda.sloan@edmonton.ca'; 'kim.krushell@edmonton.ca'; 'dave.loken@edmonton.ca'; 'ben.henderson@edmonton.ca'; 'karen.leibovici@edmonton.ca'; 'jane.batty@edmonton.ca'; 'tony.caterina@edmonton.ca'; 'ed.gibbons@edmonton.ca'; 'bryan.anderson@edmonton.ca'; 'don.iveson@edmonton.ca'; 'kerry.diotte@edmonton.ca'; 'amarjeet.sohi@edmonton.ca'; 'calgary.hawkwood@assembly.ab.ca'; 'edmonton.castledowns@assembly.ab.ca'; 'grandeprairie.smoky@assembly.ab.ca'; 'calgary.hays@assembly.ab.ca'; 'draytonvalley.devon@assembly.ab.ca'; 'edmonton.strathcona@assembly.ab.ca'; 'peace.river@assembly.ab.ca'; 'sherwood.park@assembly.ab.ca'; 'wetaskiwin.camrose@assembly.ab.ca'; 'lethbridge.east@assembly.ab.ca'; 'edmonton.millwoods@assembly.ab.ca'; 'strathcona.sherwoodpark@assembly.ab.ca'; 'calgary.lougheed@assembly.ab.ca'; 'leduc.beaumont@assembly.ab.ca'; 'edmonton.manning@assembly.ab.ca'; 'edmonton.decore@assembly.ab.ca'; 'vermilion.lloydminster@assembly.ab.ca'; 'calgary.fishcreek@assembly.ab.ca'; 'lacombe.ponoka@assembly.ab.ca'; 'calgary.buffalo@assembly.ab.ca'; 'calgary.mccall@assembly.ab.ca'; 'chestermere.rockyview@assembly.ab.ca'; 'medicine.hat@assembly.ab.ca'; 'oldsdidsbury.threehills@assembly.ab.ca'; 'laclabiche.stpaul.twohills@assembly.ab.ca'; 'highwood@assembly.ab.ca'; 'livingstone.macleod@assembly.ab.ca'; 'drumheller.stettler@assembly.ab.ca'; 'calgary.mountainview@assembly.ab.ca'; 'edmonton.whitemud@assembly.ab.ca'; 'edmonton.rutherford@assembly.ab.ca'; 'athabasca.sturgeon.redwater@assembly.ab.ca'; 'fortmcmurray.conklin@assembly.ab.ca'; 'ahscorp@albertahealthservices.ca'; 'AHSB Admin'; 'Simons, Paula (Edm Journal)'; 'jconnolly@edmontonjournal.com'; 'lchodan@edmontonjournal.com'; 'Dave Colburn'; 'Heather.MacKenzie@epsb.ca'; 'Michael.Janz@epsb.ca'; 'Sarah.Hoffman@epsb.ca'; 'Cheryl.Johner@epsb.ca'; 'Ken.Shipka@epsb.ca'; 'Leslie.Cleary@epsb.ca'; 'Christopher.Spencer@epsb.ca'; 'Catherine.Ripley@epsb.ca'; 'Jacquie Hansen (Mobile PDA)'; 'Edmonton Meadowlark'; 'edmonton.highlandsnorwood@assembly.ab.ca'; 'Elizabeth.May@parl.gc.ca'; 'bob.rae@parl.gc.ca'; 'thomas.mulcair@parl.gc.ca'; 'louis.plamondon@parl.gc.ca'; 'skearns@oktlaw.com'; 'Jay Ramotar'; 'tony.clement.a1@parl.gc.ca'; 'partners@pppcouncil.ca'; 'edmonton.rutherford@assembly.ab.ca'; 'athabasca.sturgeon.redwater@assembly.ab.ca'; 'fortmcmurray.conklin@assembly.ab.ca'; 'Newsroom@globeandmail.com'; 'Heather Raymond'; 'Joyce Clayton'; 'contact@jessicaernst.ca'; 'publisher@calgaryherald.com'; 'lmotley@calgaryherald.com'; 'jose.rodriguez@sunmedia.ca'; 'martin.hudson@sunmedia.ca'; 'justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca'; 'robert.goyette@rd.com'; 'rajotj1@parl.gc.ca'; 'calgary.elbow@assembly.ab.ca'; 'edmonton.whitemud@assembly.ab.ca'
Subject: FW: written answers to my questions please

Dear Mr. Harper,

I read recently that you were chastising The Council of Canadians for their lawsuit against the government of Canada for election fraud. I think this is ridiculous.

Don’t you know that folks in your party made big mistakes?

I mean I hardly think that stay at home mummies like myself have access to your database of information and so really only the bigwigs in the Conservative Party of Canada could have accessed this information to make the robocalls to mislead folks.
Can’t you all try to avoid dirty tricks like this?

I don’t think it sets a good example for the children of Canada when the bigwigs in our Parliament do the Tea Party junk in politics.

Also about the Duffy guy.
I don’t want to pay for his public relations activities and I think you should ensure that all the senators do not do partisan PR work even if it is for the good work of tidying up PR messes such as that Enbridge pipeline that has us all steamed up.

As for the FIPA with China, even having Duffy in charge of that isn’t going to change my mind that trade agreements for 35 years with a human rights abuser that is dying to be a world power—well—I don’t think they should be anywhere near the tarsands.

What the heck is wrong with the Tory party at both the federal and provincial levels? Don’t you all have any brains? The brand is sinking like the Titanic.  Only this ship keeps hitting the iceberg every single day.

When will this mess in Ottawa and in Alberta end? 

Before I go, I have written to Mr. Rajotte about the national children in care program that I want set up. I know you are busy with Senategate but please set this program up.  Mummies like myself in Alberta are pretty steamed up by the fact that oil industries are making billions, that the federal government is wasting billions and that children in foster care are  dying.

All the best,

Julie Ali

From: Julie Ali [mailto:julie.ali@]
Sent: May-31-13 11:58 AM
To: 'bryan.anderson@edmonton.ca'
Subject: written answers to my questions please


Dear Mr. Anderson,
When will I be getting the datasets I requested?
When will my questions be answered?
When in fact, will there be some written feedback to my inquires?

Do we have to hire new folks to get written answers to citizen questions?
Do we have to become councillors ourselves to change the lack of representation?

I look forward to written answers to my questions.

Sincerely,
Julie Ali

Friday, May 31, 2013

Donate to the Council of Canadians so that they can remake democracy in Harperland

As you all know we live in China in Canada and so we have to rebuild our country ourselves.
We cannot depend on the people we have elected to do this work because corruption is everywhere.
You only have to see the situation in Quebec to understand the money flowing to political parties from corporations ensure that the inverted totalitarian system in Canada will stifle and end democracy unless every single one of us work hard to return democracy to the people.

We--the people, need to work hard for democracy and join with activist groups such as The Council of Canadians to do the work of remaking Canada.

Canada is broken.
Alberta is broken.
Edmonton is broken.

We are ruled by the 1% of the population that make democracy a laughing matter.
How else was it that Edmonton city council approved a Katz arena that will cost us and our children at least a billion dollars?

We --the people--knew we were being scammed in the deal that was passed by the Mandel puppets on our council but --guess what? We have no power. The deal was arranged by the folks in the Downtown Business association, Mandel, Katz and crew and all the bigwigs in the construction and land development areas of the city. Why else would they push so hard for this deal? Why else would the councillors we now have as deadwood--- put themselves up for re-election?  The deadwood councillors are going to do Mr. Mandel's work for the next four years of ensuring the Katz arena and other business projects stay on the radar of Edmonton city council.

I have nothing against folks making money. But I have a big problem with the city councillors letting the private sector make obscene profits on the backs of citizens---and providing corporate welfare out of the public purse for what I think of as a golden goose for the business sector. The Katz arena in no way shape or form constitutes an essential piece of infrastructure and is not the stimulus needed for revitalization of the downtown. The downtown was revitalizing quite fine without the golden goose stolen from the public purse.

Now we have increased risk to the public purse for no good reason other than the 1% got the mayor and the councillors to do their bidding for yet more and more profits.

This type of Duddy Kravitz mindset among mayors is not limited to Edmonton alone. I just have to look to a nearby province to see greed triumph over the good of the public.
The Duddy Kravitz Mayor seems to be very common


I thought we were the only people who had hired Duddy Kravitz (see the book “The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz” to get an idea of Mayor Stephen Mandel  and crew at Edmonton City Council—bunch of developers all and greed predominates while the public interest is down the toilet),  But apparently there are other cities with other idiots like us who are scammed and fleeced by rogue mayors they hired:







partisannomore2012/12/12
at 10:07 PM ET
Major Katz lists the good things he has done as building things, big things (buildings, bridges, infrastructure kind of things). His buddies are in the construction business. Don't blame the administration, they're just following orders.




Winnipeggers believe mayor in conflict of interest, poll suggests

CBC News

Posted: Dec 12, 2012 6:01 AM CST

Last Updated: Dec 12, 2012 6:12 PM CST

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Nearly 80 per cent of Winnipeg voters think Mayor Sam Katz has been embroiled in conflicts of interest while in office, according to an exclusive poll commissioned by CBC News.
Results of the EKOS Research poll, released Wednesday, also found that only 13 per cent of respondents would vote for Katz if he were to seek a fourth term in office.
An additional 15 per cent said they might also vote for Katz if he runs for re-election. However, 51 per cent said they would not vote for him.
"I haven't seen numbers like this since the 1970s, and they weren't even that bad in the 1970s," said Chris Adams, a political analyst and the author of Politics in Manitoba: Parties, Leaders and Voters.
"[These are] the worst numbers that we've seen for a mayor in a number of polls going back decades."

Katz's response

Mayor Sam Katz responded to the CBC/EKOS poll findings at city hall on Wednesday, saying he puts little stock in polls.
“The last time I ran the poll said I was supposed to lose, too," he said. "I mean polls are polls. You know politicians won't normally comment on polls and you know me that I've never really commented on polls."
He said he would rather focus on the many positive things going on in the city, including improving infrastructure and attracting investment to the city.
"We're building new bridges, we're building fire paramedic stations, we're building new libraries, new community centres, we're improving our roads. And the public is very happy to see this happening and that to me is what it's all about," he said.
Katz also issued this statement Tuesday after first being contacted about the poll:
"At various times, I have recused myself from Executive Policy Committee and Council to avoid even the appearance of conflict of interest.
"My recusal, and the resulting media coverage, may give the impression that I am involved in conflicts of interest, when, in fact, I am taking steps to avoid potential or perceived conflicts."
First elected to the city's top political job in 2004 and re-elected in 2006, Katz was most recently re-elected in 2010, taking 55 per cent of the total vote.
"I think the more people might call for Sam Katz not to run again, the more he's going to dig in his heels in and run again," Adams said.
CBC News commissioned EKOS Research to conduct the poll, in which a random sample of 544 Winnipeg adults were surveyed by phone between Dec. 5 and Dec. 8. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
About 46 per cent of respondents said they believe Katz has "definitely" been involved in conflicts of interest during his time in office, while an additional 33 per cent said he was "probably" involved.
Sixteen per cent disagreed, saying they definitely or probably did not believe Katz has been in conflicts of interest.
Only one per cent of respondents said they have not seen, read or heard anything on the topic, the poll results suggested.
In an email to CBC News, Katz said he believes the high perception that he may be in conflicts of interest could be because he has recused himself from some council votes.
The poll also found that 70 per cent of respondents believe city council does not deal very well with allegations of conflict of interest in general.
As well, about 69 per cent said they don't think council has dealt effectively with the allegations involving Katz.
Point Douglas Coun. Mike Pagtakhan says he would support the creation of a city ethics commissioner, as he believes maintaining public confidence is paramount.
"Every single councillor is very mindful of that and definitely wants to do the right thing," Pagtakhan said.
"At the same time … the public needs to be assured that if there is a perceived conflict of interest, that it's somehow dealt with in an effective and sound manner."
Pagtakhan added that he's not surprised to hear what the poll results had to say about Katz, saying the onus is on the mayor to restore citizens' confidence.

Land swap, restaurant lawsuit

A number of controversies involving the mayor has surfaced over the past year, some of which involved Shindico Realty, a local property development company.
A land swap between Shindico and fire Chief Reid Douglas, in which three pieces of city-owned land were exchanged for a Shindico-owned property where a new fire hall sits, prompted Katz to order an internal review.

Competing interests?

Check out our interactive feature on the controversies involving Katz.
Councillors later ordered an external review of all the city's real-estate transactions from the past five years.
Katz also came under fire for buying a $1-million US house in Scottsdale, Arizona, from the sister-in-law of Shindico president Sandy Shindleman.
The deal raised questions about Katz's long-held claim that he has no connection with Shindleman beyond the developer's shares in Katz's baseball team, the Winnipeg Goldeyes.
Meanwhile, Winnipeg restaurateur Joe Chan will be taking Katz to court in April, alleging that the mayor spent more than $2,900 in public money for holiday parties at Hu's Asian Bistro, an eatery Katz owned at the time.
Chan is suing Katz under Manitoba's Municipal Conflict of Interest Act. The allegations have not been proven in court.
"If he took city people on city money to that restaurant, then yes, I do believe it's a conflict of interest," resident Debbie Dunlop told CBC News on Tuesday.
If Katz is found to have violated the law, he could be ordered removed from office.

CAO also in conflict of interest, poll suggests

The EKOS Research poll also found that 61 per cent of respondents believe Phil Sheegl, the city's top bureaucrat, has been in conflicts of interest.
'Any poll that you do that polls the public, that's just someone's opinion.'—Phil Sheegl
Sheegl, as the City of Winnipeg's chief administrative officer, has been involved in some of the controversies surrounding Katz, including the fire hall land swap.
In September, CBC News reported that Katz bought Duddy Enterprises LLC, an Arizona-based shell company, from Sheegl earlier this year.
Katz did not declare the purchase of Duddy Enterprises in his statement of assets and interests, as is required under the conflict of interest legislation. At the time, Katz said he did not need to declare that transaction because it happened outside Manitoba.
But in the face of public pressure, Katz sold the company back to Sheegl.
Of the 61 per cent of poll respondents who said Sheegl has been involved in conflicts of interest, 29 per cent said "definitely" while 32 per cent said "probably."
Twenty-three per cent of respondents said they definitely or probably do not believe Sheegl has been in any conflicts of interest.
On Wednesday, Sheegl said he still has the confidence of the political side of city hall, no matter what anyone else may think of him.
"I answer to the mayor, EPC [executive policy committee] and council as a whole, so that's their job," he said.
"Any poll that you do that polls the public, that's just someone's opinion."
But Transcona Coun. Russ Wyatt, who has called on Sheegl to resign, says the poll results reflect what's been happening at city hall.
"We do have the audits, which are now underway, and we've gone to external auditors to look at real estate and fire, and so I'm hopeful that we'll get answers," Wyatt said.
Swarlie2012/12/12
at 7:38 AM ET
White Collar Crime runs rampid in politics. It disgusts me!

Argle Bargle2012/12/12
at 9:28 AM ET
You mean after all these years people are finally figuring out he is dirty? The stuff with the gold eyes Stadium, camera lights, and parking prices didn't tip you off.?

The Peg2012/12/12
at 7:51 AM ET
Integrity free mayor

Simonkung2012/12/12
at 10:53 AM ET
I think the Marquess deals: The Parker land swap, Fort Rouge Yards complex, the Rapid Transit station deal, and the loans and concessions, will most likely be the crowning achievements and swindle of the Katz / Sheegl partnership with their dear friend Andrew Marquess. The deals are so complex the public does not understand them, and that is why they are not getting the attention and spotlight they deserve.

Swarlie2012/12/12
at 10:12 AM ET
The one thing about Judy is she's not bright enough to manipulate the system like Scheming Sammy!!!

Heights82012/12/12
at 2:11 PM ET
The headline of this article is a galloping understatement.
Buster B. Brown2012/12/12
at 8:09 PM ET
And don't forget that he swindled the Crocus fund out of a pile of money. Makes mayor Ford seem like one of the Three wise men.

unequaled2012/12/13
at 8:00 AM ET
Are we trying to copy-cat Toronto? Are we that stupid?
partisannomore2012/12/12
at 10:07 PM ET
Major Katz lists the good things he has done as building things, big things (buildings, bridges, infrastructure kind of things). His buddies are in the construction business. Don't blame the administration, they're just following orders.



***********************************************************************


 The failure of our elected representatives to represent us is everywhere.
As well we have outright corruption revealed to us in some provinces and I am sure that we will see more of such disasters as there are further investigations.

The man who shook Quebec

Jacques Duchesneau was hired to investigate corruption in the construction industry. No one liked what he found.
by Martin Patriquin on Thursday, July 12, 2012 3:43pm - 20 Comments
Mathieu Belanger/Reuters
Montrealers can be forgiven for having been a tad restive during the sweltering first days of summer. There were the nightly student protests against Quebec Premier Jean Charest’s government and clashes with police. About a month ago, a six-metre-deep sinkhole opened up on Sherbrooke Street just hours after tens of thousands of protesters had walked past. In late June, a sewage pipe burst at rue Ste-Catherine and McGill College, revealing that one of the city’s busiest intersections was being largely held up by old tramway rails embedded in the asphalt. More sections of pipe promptly burst under Peel Street.
And then there were the perp walks by public officials. In May, Montreal’s former executive committee chairman, Frank Zampino, was hauled out of bed and arrested for his alleged part in the sale of city land to developer Frank Catania for a fraction of its value. Last week, Luigi Coretti, a close friend of former provincial Liberal cabinet minister Tony Tomassi, who himself faces fraud and breach-of-trust charges, was charged with fraud and fabricating false documents.
Protests. Crumbling infrastructure. Public officials in handcuffs. How much can one city be expected to take?
Quebec’s most powerful whistleblower
Yet if there’s any comfort for beleaguered Montrealers—and most Quebecers in general—it stems from work that took place in an unassuming, slate-gray skyscraper in downtown Montreal. It was in an office on the 16th floor of the 26-storey building that former Montreal police chief Jacques Duchesneau, as head of a government-appointed investigation unit, conducted an 18-month probe into the province’s construction industry and prepared what came to be known as the Duchesneau report. And it was in the same building that, over six days last month, Duchesneau testified in front of a commission into Quebec’s construction industry—best known as the Charbonneau commission, after its presiding judge, France Charbonneau—that was arguably created as a result of his own findings.
Duchesneau’s report and subsequent testimony threw open the door on the secretive and wildly lucrative world of Quebec’s construction sector. But while the revelations sent shock waves through Quebec, until now, few outside the province have heard much about Duchesneau and his stunning findings. As Duchesneau spoke with Maclean’s about his work, he shed light on the troubling signs of corruption in the industry, and what he sees as the Charest government’s efforts to stymie his investigation.
Related:
The report’s findings, first leaked to Radio-Canada’s investigative show Enquête last September, were jaw-dropping. Duchesneau detailed what he called “an entrenched, clandestine universe of an unheard-of size that is harmful to society in terms of security and the economy, as well as justice and democracy.” His report described how a tiny group of construction and engineering firms—“an oligarchy,” as Duchesneau put it to Maclean’s—managed to hoard the lion’s share of the province’s road construction projects just as the government, through a five-year plan launched in 2007, was committing $37.7 billion to the “modernization, repair and preservation of public infrastructures.”
The report further described how these firms have colluded with one another to rig the bidding system so that each gets a turn—with the others often hired as subcontractors. Another tactic is to drastically underbid on a job, then immediately ask for the maximum contingency funds allowed for in the contract. A haven for organized crime, Quebec’s construction industry is so rife with dirty money, the report said, that key parts of its supply chain were identified with the names of the gangs that controlled them. “A Hells Angels associate made it known that ‘everything that is asphalt in and around Montreal is ours,’ ” Duchesneau wrote. “[The associate] says how he recently acquired an asphalt company: a year after getting beaten, the owner decided to sell.”
Immense and awash in government money, Transports Québec has become the cash-generating and laundering outfit of choice for Quebec’s formidable organized crime network. “There are groups of general contractors who work as cartels, organizing to collude the tenders process to protect their members, eliminate competition and to get contracts at the price they want. Though they are legal themselves, some of these firms are have silent partners, thus increasing organized crime’s presence in the legal economy.”
As damning as it was, the report was eclipsed by Duchesneau’s testimony at the government corruption inquiry, which quickly established him as one of the most powerful whistle-blowers the province has ever seen. Imposing in presence and brutally forthright in his delivery, the former head of Montreal’s police service named names and told in exacting detail how billions of dollars of government money make their way into the pockets of a few individuals. He spoke of how many firms, by way of strategic (and, in Quebec, illegal) donations, helped run the election campaigns of certain municipal and provincial political parties. Nothing substantial in his testimony was challenged by government lawyers.
But perhaps most damning of all, Duchesneau said in his notes, recently presented as evidence during the Charbonneau commission, that at times he felt he was a pawn in the Charest government’s plan to obfuscate and stall the corruption dossier, and that members of the government were so bent on stifling his progress and smothering his report that he himself leaked it to the media so that it would see the light of day.
Jean Charest, it is safe to say, never wanted an inquiry into Quebec’s construction industry. Trouble was, just about everyone else did. The opposition Parti Québécois had been demanding an inquiry since September 2009, and according to a fall 2010 Leger Marketing poll, nearly 80 per cent of Quebecers wanted one. They were joined by a chorus of unions, Quebec’s Municipal Federation, legal and law enforcement groups and citizens’ organizations. The premier’s usual answer to the clamour was that the best way to tackle the problem was to leave it to investigators.
So, the government went to the police—or, in Duchesneau’s case, retired police. By the time Charest reversed his position in October 2011 to call an inquiry, the Liberal government had created Unité Anticollusion (UAC) and, later, the much larger Unité Permanente Anticorruption (UPAC), to root out corruption in the construction industry. Former public security minister Jacques Dupuis tapped Duchesneau to head up the UAC in early 2010. He was given a three-year mandate, after which he was to produce a report on his findings.
It’s not difficult to see why Duchesneau was chosen. A 30-year veteran of the Montreal police force, Duchesneau served as police chief from 1994 to 1998. In 1983, he arrested Henri Marchessault, his direct superior and a well-respected police officer, for stealing drugs from an evidence room. The arrest and fallout—many of his fellow officers were angered that he would do such a thing—has become Duchesneau’s “Serpico moment” and cemented his reputation for honesty and integrity. A recipient of the Order of Canada, the Order of Quebec and France’s Ordre national du Mérite, he was shortlisted to be secretary general of Interpol in 1999. “When I was a cop, I arrested all sorts of people, people who were doing things that ranged from stealing a bicycle to murder,” Duchesneau says. “ But people still had their story, and they knew that they had committed something wrong. The problem now is that these people think they are business people, but they are stealing our money. And no one is watching what they are doing. The ones who are supposed to be watching turn a blind eye.”
To some, at the time, his bona fides weren’t as important as his politics. “He’s a federalist, part of the gang,” says Stéphane Bédard, the Parti Québécois parliamentary leader. “He was associated with this government, and Charest was happy to name him...at first.”
Deconstructing the Quebec construction industry 
Clockwise from left: Graham Hughes/CP; Ryan Remiorz/CP; Don Denton/CP
During his testimony at the Charbonneau commission, Duchesneau illustrated publicly for the first time how specific companies would flout the bidding system to milk Quebec’s Transport Ministry. For example, Laval-based Doncar Construction was the lowest bidder on a construction contract with the Ministry of Transport. Once awarded the contract, Doncar promptly dropped out, and the contract then went to the second-lowest bidder, Les Constructions CJRB—which in turn subcontracted the work back to Doncar. The result: CJRB gets a higher price for the contract, and Doncar gets the work regardless.
And, though the two companies are seemingly unrelated, Duchesneau’s team used a labyrinthine line chart to reveal that Doncar president Joseph Giguère and CJRB president Christian Blanchet are both vice-presidents in Les Carrières BGR, a quarry operating company that, as it turns out, shares the same address as Doncar Construction. (Giguère and Blanchet didn’t respond to interview requests. Duchesneau’s findings have not been proven in court.)
Click on the image below to see an enlarged version of the chart (opens a PDF):

A second scheme uncovered by Duchesneau involved a company owned by Tony Accurso, arguably the most powerful and infamous figure in Quebec’s construction industry. Recently indicted on multiple fraud, conspiracy, influence peddling and breach of trust charges, Accurso oversees a construction and real estate empire. The Duchesneau team’s diagram of Accurso’s business interests, which bears a resemblance to the roof of Montreal’s Olympic Stadium, shows how the Laval-based businessman is president or majority shareholder in some 35 companies. In total, according to UAC numbers, Accurso and his children, Lisa and Jimmy, control 63 construction and real estate companies.
Click on the image below to see an enlarged version of the chart (opens a PDF):

Someone in the [construction] field tried to have us believe that it was vertical integration,” Duchesneau testified, “But when we looked at it closely, you see [the structure] removes any chance of competition from anyone else. For example, if you and I are friends, I’ll sell you asphalt for $100 a ton. But if I don’t know you, I’ll sell for $110 a ton.”
Accurso certainly has friends in the industry. Through Simard Beaudry Construction Inc., the Laval-based businessman co-owns the asphalt company Usine Ashphalte Montréal Nord Inc. along with Construction Soter Inc., owned by Joseph and Eric Giguère of the Doncar fame. The relation speaks to a peculiarity of the Quebec construction industry: seven people are behind roughly 140 construction companies in the province, with ownership of certain companies shared amongst them. (Accurso also had friends in government: the recently-arrested former Montreal executive chairman Zampino had vacationed on Touch, Accurso’s Bahamas-based yacht.)
By virtue of the size and breadth, Accurso has essentially made himself indispensible. Even when Louisbourg and Simard-Beaudry pled guilty to tax evasion in 2010 and had their licenses suspended for four months as a result, Accurso was still able to put his fingerprints on work sites across the province. He simply bid for contracts through Louisbourg SBC, an ostensibly separate company with its own license with Quebec’s construction authority. The suspensions didn’t seem to hurt Accurso’ bottom line: according to an investigation by the Montreal Gazette, Accurso-owned companies accounted for some $270 million in city contracts between 2006 and 2011.
Duchesneau’s team also uncovered how Quebec’s ministry of transport was itself wholly unprepared to oversee the contracts it was handing out. A key part of the Charest government’s economic recovery plan, the MTQ will spend some $16 billion on roadwork construction between 2007 and 2012. The workload increase was seemingly at odds with another the Charest government ‘s plan to shrink the size of the province’s civil service: since 2003, the government has hired one civil servant for every two retirees. Though often applauded for lightening Quebec’s sizeable bureaucratic machine, the initiative limited the MTQ’s ability to oversee the worksites blooming across the province. (The MTQ stopped the ‘one-for-two’ program in March 2009.)
What’s more, Duchesneau says, many senior managers at the ministry have left to work for the engineering firms, and junior MTQ staff would often be charged with overseeing the work of their former bosses. “The guy that just left for the private sector wants to show that he has contacts and that he’ll do a good job, and the junior guy at the MTQ is so afraid of his former boss that he just lets things go,” Duchesneau says.
Like Accurso, these engineering firms have seemingly made themselves indispensible. As Sylvie Roy, an MNA with the right-leaning Coalition Avenir Québec, recently noted, the firms whose work was deemed “inappropriate” in a report following the crash of the 25-ton concrete slab onto the Ville Marie expressway last year recently secured a multi-million dollar government contract. SNC-Lavalin, Dessau and CIMA+, three of the province’s biggest engineering firms, will together share a $30-million contract to repair part of Montreal’s aging Turcot interchange, a major thoroughfare for truck and commuter traffic that at points is higher than the Ville-Marie is deep.
How things got political
As explosive as these allegations were, Duchesneau’s findings might never have come to light. Duchesneau testified that the government stymied his team. Within days of announcing his appointment, a deputy minister asked him to sign a paper swearing that he had no friends in organized crime. “I nearly fell on the floor,” he says. “When I saw that, I said, ‘Yeah, I have lots of friends in organized crime...So many, in fact, that many of them wanted to kill me.’ ”
It wasn’t just professional slights. Duchesneau said he had no budgetary control and no offices. “We had to squat in the deputy minister’s office,” he said during his testimony, recalling how he felt slighted by the very government that had appointed him. Duchesneau’s team of investigators had to use their own vehicles when visiting construction sites, creating a potential security risk. “In taking down the licence plate, well, obviously people could have figured out who we were,” he says. In May 2010, two months after he began work, Duchesneau aired his grievances in a 13-page letter to the Transportation Ministry, in which he asked: “Is the UAC but a facade to create a diversion to calm the 80 per cent of the population and 83 per cent of [Quebec’s] engineers who want a public inquiry into the construction industry?”
According to Duchesneau, then-transportation minister Sam Hamad had no interest in seeing the report when Duchesneau handed it to him last September. He recalls Hamad saying: “ ‘I don’t want to see it. My associates will take care of it.’ It was pretty disappointing, thank you very much.” For his part, Hamad, now minister of economic development, says he doesn’t remember the exchange.
Not long after he tabled his report to Hamad, Duchesneau gave a copy to Radio-Canada journalist Marie-Maude Denis. “Our team didn’t do the work so [the report] would go on a shelf, and after my meeting with minister Hamad, I was convinced that it was going to end up on a shelf,” Duchesneau testified later, admitting he broke his confidentiality agreement with the province.
On Sept. 6, five days after Duchesneau gave his report to Hamad, his team was essentially swallowed up by a much larger investigative body. Roughly a month later, after publicly criticizing the head of that squad, Robert Lafrenière, Duchesneau was dismissed—though it has hardly kept him quiet. He subsequently wrote a “volunteer report” about how the very structure of Quebec’s political system depends almost entirely on “dirty” money. And then came his explosive testimony last month.
During his cross-examination of Duchesneau, government lawyer Benoît Boucher didn’t challenge any substantial points of the former police chief’s testimony, concentrating instead on seemingly insignificant details. Boucher asked about his contract and his government benefits during his time as head of the investigative unit. “The only benefit I got was life insurance,” Duchesneau answered, locking his eyes on Boucher without blinking. “It could well have been beneficial.”
Later on, Boucher questioned Duchesneau on his use of the term “squatting” when referring to the UAC offices at René Lévesque and Beaver Hall Hill. It led to this odd exchange:
Boucher: And you had a bathroom?
Duchesneau: No, no…
Boucher: In the [deputy minister’s] suite?
Duchesneau: No, no, now…
Boucher: There was no bathroom in the suite?
Duchesneau: Yes, there was a bathroom in the deputy minister’s suite that I didn’t use.
Boucher: In the suite, there was a bathroom.
Duchesneau: Now we’re getting into details, don’t you think?
Duchesneau suggests the government had something to hide—and questions if he was set up to fail. “Why is it that we were given a three-year mandate? If we had accepted to abide by their rules, we would have given the report in late 2013, way past the election. They never saw us coming with a report after 18 months.” Yet because he produced (and subsequently leaked) the September 2011 report, the genie is out of the bottle; the Charbonneau commission, on hiatus for the summer, is scheduled to start again in mid-September, with testimony from key people in the industry.
The stakes are high for Jean Charest, who is seeking his fourth term in office. As it is, one of the companies targeted by Duchesneau’s team is Neilson-EBC, owned by the Fava family. Franco Fava, the family patriarch, is a long-time fundraiser for the Liberal Party of Quebec. Shaken by corruption allegations within his government, the premier faced an unyielding student protest over plans to increase tuition fees, as well as the law he put in place to stifle the protest itself.
For its part, the government says it supported Duchesneau throughout his time at UAC. Charest spokesperson Hugo D’Amours points out (rightly) that Duchesneau himself praised both Hamad’s predecessor Julie Boulet and successor Pierre Moreau. “We can’t pretend that the government put a stick in Mr. Duchesneau’s wheels,” D’Amours says, noting how Moreau has acted on Duchesneau’s recommendations.
Duchesneau wasn’t targeted by the government lawyer alone. At one point during her cross-examination, the lawyer for the Parti Québécois suggested Duchesneau chief had “hurt his credibility” by producing, after he was dismissed, what Duchesneau called “a volunteer report” into the illegal financing of political parties in Quebec.
“With no authorization, Mr. Duchesneau, pretended to be an investigator, gathered files on people and compromised the impartiality of his function as a representative of the state when he was head of the UAC,” said PQ lawyer Estelle Tremblay, who demanded to see a copy of the report. (It remains sealed.)
It was a surprising attack, given how PQ leader Pauline Marois has over the last nine months essentially used Duchesneau’s (official) report to hack away at the Charest government’s credibility. Duchesneau wonders whether the allegations contained in his report—among them, that as much as 70 per cent of the money used to fund political parties is “dirty”—might hurt the PQ as much as the Liberals. In an interview with Maclean’s, PQ MNA Stéphane Bédard dismissed Duchesneau’s suggestion along with his “volunteer report”—which Bédard called “that thing he did over a weekend.” “We have nothing to hide,” Bédard said, adding that he was “surprised” to hear Duchesneau attack the PQ. “If the PQ had something to hide we wouldn’t have been asking for a public inquiry for two and a half years.”
For all the attention, Duchesneau says he doesn’t plan to attend the hearings when they start up again in September. “I’m going on vacation, maybe to an iceberg somewhere in the North Atlantic,” he says. He thinks Quebec has heard enough from him, and he just might be right. Maybe his legacy speaks loudly enough already.


*****************************************************************************

 So here we have this man finding out the corruption webs in Quebec and what does he get for this thankless work?  More abuse from the government.



We have folks getting contracts for bribes, we have political parties in cahoots with the corporate donors, we have municipalities cooking the books, and we have replacement governments toning down the punishment for the crooks:


Some names missing from list of arrested, Duchesneau says


Quebecers should thank Liberals for forming squad, Robert Poëti says


By Kevin Dougherty, GAZETTE QUEBEC BUREAU CHIEF May 10, 2013




“Police work – fast and perfect – it’s not possible,” Robert Poëti, a former Sûreté du Québec spokesman who now is Liberal MNA for Montreal’s Marguerite-Bourgeoys riding, said Thursday, explaining that investigators must sift through documents, check banking records, transactions and details of a suspect’s personal life to build a case.

Photograph by: Jacques Boissinot , THE CANADIAN PRESS

QUEBEC – Jacques Duchesneau, the one-time anti-collusion investigator who now is a Coalition Avenir Québec MNA, says some names are missing from the list of 37 people arrested Thursday on charges of gangsterism and fraud.
“Maybe they will be arrested later,” he said. “Maybe they will be witnesses.”
Duchesneau, a former Montreal police chief who was given a mandate by the Quebec Transport Department to look into collusion in the awarding of contracts, said last summer he decided to run for the CAQ only when former-Liberal premier Jean Charest gave himself an 8/10 rating in fighting corruption.
Duchesneau praised Sylvie Roy, then an Action démocratique du Québec MNA, as the first elected member to call for a public inquiry into corruption. Charest finally named the Charbonneau Commission “948 days” after Roy first raised the issue.
Duchesneau added that it took guts for Roy to keep pushing, over two-and-a-half-years, for an inquiry, in the face of ridicule from members of the Liberal government.
Duchesneau called the arrests, and charges of gangsterism, “a great day for justice in Quebec,” but “a sad day for democracy.”
Earlier Robert Poëti, a former Sûreté du Québec spokesman who now is Liberal MNA for Montreal’s Marguerite-Bourgeoys riding, said the arrest of Vaillancourt demonstrates the value of solid police work.
Quebecers “should congratulate the Quebec Liberal Party for creating UPAC,” Poëti said, referring to the province’s permanent anti-corruption unit. UPAC’s 200 members are drawn from police forces working in Quebec at all levels, as well as Revenue Quebec and Competition Bureau investigators.
Poëti explained that investigators must sift through documents, check banking records, transactions and details of a suspect’s personal life in order to build a case.
“You have to prove beyond a doubt,” Poëti said.
Witnesses at the Charbonneau Commission reveal their participation in criminal acts, such as offering and taking huge cash bribes, he noted, but their testimony comes with immunity.
Police work is also important “to put criminals behind bars,” the Liberal public security critic said.
Former premier Jean Charest created UPAC in February 2011 before naming the Charbonneau Commission in October 2011, saying he wanted to put criminal behind bars, “not on television.”
UPAC has been criticized by opposition politicians because big-name arrests were slow in coming.
kdougherty@montrealgazette.com
Twitter: doughertykr



 ********************************************************************************

So folks--this is how democracy is destroyed.
Behind the scenes deals.
A citizen population that is trained to give up its power.
A citizen population that fails to exert its political power by voting out the incompetent and non-representing elected people in government.
A citizen population that is innocent of the corruption that seems to be endemic in Canadian society that we are unwilling to face and ask for firm anti-corruption steps to be taken.

It starts with us.
And it starts with our activist organizations that Mr. Harper thinks are too pushy about democracy.

What the heck?

Just who does Mr. Harper and all these elected folks think they are?

We--the people--pay for everything.
We --the people--hire them.
And they'd better get used to us investigating them.
If they have nothing to hide, then there is no problem is there?


I encourage you all to speak up, vote and yes, contribute to the folks  that Mr. Harper thinks of as citizen busybodies.

Heck without these folks, we would never have understood the corruption of our democracy by folks in the Tory party as well as the Wildrosies, and other parties.

The entire political scene needs to be remade over by citizens.

Here is the place to start:


https://vws1.magma.ca/www.canadians.org/election/petition-donate.html
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Thanks for taking action!

Help end election fraud now!
The Council of Canadians is building on the Federal Court’s landmark ruling on election fraud to step up our pro-democracy campaign work. Donate now to help sustain the urgent and needed call for a public inquiry into who was behind the 2011 election fraud, and advocating for our government to adopt swift and meaningful electoral reform that protects Canadians  from being victimized by election fraud again. 
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From: Maude Barlow [mailto:mbarlow@canadians.org]
Sent: May-31-13 10:39 AM
To: Council of Canadians supporter
Subject: Breaking: major announcements on election fraud

Election Fraud Petition

I'm writing you with breaking news.

At this very moment, the Council of Canadians and Peggy Walsh Craig, one of the eight individual voters who came forward to challenge election fraud head-on, are in Ottawa addressing media from across the country to make two major announcements.

It's only been a week since Federal Court Justice Richard Mosley ruled conclusively that "electoral fraud occurred during the 41st General Election."

Justice Mosley found that:

1. An unprecedented, covert and widespread campaign of voter suppression was perpetrated on Canadian voters in the 2011 federal election.


2. Canadians who indicated they would not be voting for the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) were specifically targeted.

3. The most likely source of the data used to perpetrate this fraud was the CPC's own database.

"I feel vindicated by the ruling," Peggy said this morning. "In fact, we now know the fraud was much larger than anyone knew. Tens of thousands of Canadians received calls like I received, misdirecting them to the wrong polling locations, and that many Canadians had their votes stolen in the process."

In light of this, today's first major announcement is that Peggy and her fellow applicants will not appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. "You only appeal when you lose. We feel that we have taken this case as far as it can go. And we want to thank the Council of Canadians and the thousands of individual donors across the country who helped us pursue, and ultimately expose, election fraud."

While serious questions remain unanswered, namely who accessed the CPC's database to commit the fraud, a Supreme Court appeal will not deliver the remedy.

So the second major announcement this morning is that the Council of Canadians is stepping-up our pro-democracy campaign by now taking the fight to end election fraud to the steps of Parliament.

Election Fraud PetitionToday we're launching an urgent national petition calling on the Government of Canada to:

1. Immediately hold a public inquiry to find and bring to justice the person or persons responsible for accessing the CPC's database to perpetrate the election fraud; and

2. Swiftly table comprehensive electoral reform that protects Canadians from being victimized by election fraud again.

You've been a valued contributor to this crucial fight for democracy thusfar. Will you join us in taking this crucial next step? Please sign the petition right now. We're calling on all Canadians from across the country, across all political stripes and across generations to join in signing too.

Canadians are looking squarely at you, Prime Minister Harper, and expecting your government to be accountable and to take swift and meaningful action to end election fraud now.

This isn't over. Restoring our democracy has just begun.

 Maude Barlow

Maude Barlow

National Chairperson
The Council of Canadians 700-170 Laurier Avenue West Ottawa, ON, K1P 5V5
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