The media has been breathlessly reporting the latest news from Quebec’s corruption commission as though there’s something unusually rotten in that province. I have to wonder, though. Every province should have such a commission. It’s a fairly safe bet that these sorts of shenanigans are bilingual.
The most recent indication of this comes from Lotus Land, where I most recently honoured the far-right Liberal government for going paperless — in this case, meaning, claiming that no actual documents are exchanged within the top ranks of the premier’s office. It’s all voice only at that high level — because, one must presume, premier Christy Clark is illiterate. Of course that has the inconvenient side effect of rendering all such conversations beyond the realm of freedom-of-information laws. C’est la vie.
I thought the paperless premier story strained credibility past the breaking point. Then I read the latest to emerge from the corrupt joke of a government on Canada’s Pacific coast. The government has been fighting a decade-long battle over shady dealings in connection with the fire-sale of the province’s publicly owned railway. A couple high-level aides actually ended up charged. After years of pre-trial maneuverings, they suddenly pled guilty, got light house arrest sentences, and had the government pay their legal bills.
That’s where things got screwy. It seems no one knew where the money to pay the legal bills came from. The government claimed there were no billing records because it had had an outside law firm handle the paperwork. The Auditor-General even took the province to court to get the records. Which the province again claimed did not exist.
Until this week, when, mysteriously, all the information turned up, and the government’s lawyer filed the following spectacularly implausible explanation in court:
“I am surprised by those errors … I must have been aware, even if I did not review them in detail, that the certificates had additional material attached … I have no explanation for how or why … I said the certificates did not have statement of account attached … other than failure of memory and failure to go back and review the files at the times I made those misstatements.”
He now claims that when the first denials that the documentation existed were issued, it was because he was just speaking off the top of his head, going by memory. Now he says he’s checked the files and his memory was wrong. Whoopsie-daisies!
Now seems like a good time to point out that Sixth Estate is still inviting sight-unseen bids on a new bridge he is constructing that will link British Columbia to Nunavut.Tweet