Cacouna, Couillard and the Ties that Bind

Quebec Government’s Love Affair with Big Oil – Published on The Bullet, Socialist Projet’s E-Bulletin no. 1048, by Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, Oct 17, 2014.

It’s an evening like any other. The first item on the Téléjournal is about the controversial Cacouna oil port project Then the spokesperson for TransCanada, the project’s sponsor, appears onscreen. His talking points aren’t particularly noteworthy, but his face is strangely familiar. I’ve seen it before, but where? For hours, the question nagged at me. Later that evening, it came to me in a flash: we had crossed paths during the summer of 2012 in Quebec, during negotiations between the student movement and the Jean Charest government … //

… Political power subservient to business interests?

In a decision dated September 23, a justice of the Quebec Superior Court questioned the motives of Environment Minister David Heurtel, who provided a certificate of authorization to TransCanada, even though the Alberta company had not provided all the necessary documents. “He changed his position and signed the certificate of authorization. Nothing in the evidence submitted explains that reversal,” wrote an incredulous Justice Claudine Roy. Is it possible that Mr. Cannon and the 13 other lobbyists employed by TransCanada had something to do with the minister’s abrupt change of heart?

This case goes beyond the fate of Energy East or TransCanada. It reveals once again a dual proximity between the worlds of politics and business. The first form of proximity is concrete: it is well known that the titans of industry maintain close ties to those in power, and Cannon’s case shows how small a world it really is, a select network where players circulate rapidly from one side of the table to the other.

But beyond this cozy relation between our leaders and the scions of big business, it is their ideological homogeneity that disturbs me most. In the end it is their conception of the state that allows both Philippe Cannon and former Hydro-Québec Chair, now lobbyist, André Caillé to pass from the public to private sectors, and back again, in the blink of an eye. As they pass between these sectors, they assimilate, intentionally or otherwise, the neoliberal vision of the role of the state within society: to create the most favourable business climate possible.

The fact that the right-hand man to an education minister who wanted to increase tuition fees by 75 per cent is, less than two years later, the public face of a foreign company that wants to convince the Quebec government to authorize a high-risk project in the St. Laurence is not just an anecdote or an isolated incident, it is a symbol.

Many laughed at the students in 2012, when certain “radicals” (sic) said that their struggle against tuition fees was also directed at the political and economic elite who control Quebec society. “Old rhetoric from the 70s!” scoffed the “chattering classes,” as Chantal Hébert likes to call them. This troubling affair demonstrates that we should have listened better, and that those concerned with the rule of law were wrong to blame the students for its deterioration.

One last question: what if the political class itself represents the greatest threat to the credibility of our political institutions?

(full text).


US: Kill the Messenger, on Intrepid Report, by Dave Alpert, Oct 17, 2014: What happens to people, ordinary citizens in positions to know and journalists, who report and publicize criminal acts committed by agencies in our government?

UK: UK treats 1,700 female genital mutilation victims since April, on Russia Today RT, Oct 16, 2014;

France: Revenus de placement, la déductibilité de la CSG en consultation publique, dans cBanque, par Emilie Longin, Oct 16, 2014;

France: Les allocations familiales seront modulées selon le revenu à partir de 2015, dans Le, Oct 16, 2014;

US: Everyone’s share of the pie, on The Nation, Oct 16, 2014;

VSB Bancorp, Inc. Third Quarter 2014 Results of Operations, on Market Wired, Source VSB Bancorp, Oct 15, 2014;

Syria: Nine Days in the Caliphate: A Yazidi Woman’s Ordeal as an Islamic State Captive, on Spiegel Online International, by Ralf Hoppe, Oct 15, 2014 (Photo Gallery): When Islamic State fighters conquered the border region between Iraq and Syria, the Yazidi village of Kocho also fell into their hands. Twenty-year-old Nadia was among dozens of young women who were abducted and abused. This is the story of her ordeal …;

Canada is now the world’s leading deforestation nation, on, by STEPHEN LEAHY, Oct 1, 2014;

… and an ebola-controversy in the internet:

… and this:

  • Santana – Savor (From Woodstock 1969), 5.29 min, uploaded by Lewis Durham, April 4, 2009 … and many more in autoplay;

… und noch das:

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