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Pierre Karl Peladeau’s So-Called Economic Credibility and PQ Becomes a Pro-Corporate Party Like Everyone Else

After reading through a week’s worth of news articles, columnists and the twitter machine, there appears to be one common theme; Peladeau Jr. was recruited to provide economic credibility to the Parti-Quebecois to mainly the business community.  Furthermore, according to a PQ campaign ad , Pauline Marois is featured alone walking a hallway  (which suggests that she is a one woman show or at least, thinks she is)  with a backdrop in tones of grey, cold and dare I say it, austere.  Yes, boys n girls, she is obviously promoting keeping up with the ‘austerity’ Joneses. After all, austerity and pro-corporation measures are the only way anyone can have economic credibility, right, boys n girls?  As we’ve seen, the PQ had been veering right since the days Lucien Bouchard was leading it, but he was never what one could call a Harper rite in the way that Peladeau Jr. is.  In selecting  junior, she has basically turned her back on the original pro-working class roots (I’ve mentioned this in a previous post )of her party — contrary to what the party originally stood for , besides sovereignty that is.

Lévesque’s first PQ government, elected on November 15 1976, was decidedly social-democratic.

It brought in universal dental care for children, anti-scab labour legislation, a steeply progressive income tax, strict political contribution and spending limits, tough limitations on the exploitation of agricultural lands and public auto insurance — and it nationalized Quebec’s then-vital asbestos industry.

Pauline Marois, herself, as a former senior cabinet minister, was largely responsible for bringing in universal day care to la belle province as well as abolishing religious based school boards in favour of linguistic based ones.

While in opposition, she denounced shale gas development and with enough pressure, that project was shelved. Now, she seems keen on oil and gas exploration on Anticosti Island.

As soon as she was elected premier, she did other sane things like repealing the most contentious portions of Bill 78, a hastily and poorly written bill the Charest Liberals rushed out in order to stoke right winged populist anger against the student protests in the spring  of 2012.

She also cancelled ex-Premier Johnny’s loan guarantee to put the Jeffrey mine in Asbestos on life support.

Sure, in the past, she was following the PQ’s right turn under Lucien Bouchard by closing hospitals and buying off doctors’ and nurses’ contracts along with other cuts to health care.  However, to be fair, she had reacted to the cuts in health care transfers under the federal Liberal government of the day.

The party had the backing of Quebec’s two largest labour unions – CSN and FTQ.  Currently, Pierre Paquette, a former Bloc Quebecois MP and secretary general of CSN is running against Franky Legault in l’Assomption.  That is obviously being overshadowed by the recruitment of union busting,  Harperite to run in St-Jerome.  One has to wonder how Pierre Paquette is able to run for a party alongside an employer who pissed off his own union members during his tenure.

Peladeau Jr. is responsible for 14 lockouts and dubbed by the FTQ as one of “Quebec’s worst employer”.  He definitely earned it.  Yet, several old CSN and FTQ executives are still backing the candidacy of Peladeau jr , despite Bob Rae saying that public servants and unionists who would vote for Peladeau jr would be like a chicken voting for Col. Saunders. What gives?

Well, for the FTQ regional representative, Michel Dupont, while conceding that Quebec Solidaire would be a better match, he is also saying that they would not form a government overnight.

Il n’y a que Québec solidaire qui reste campé à gauche mais, entre nous, disons que ce n’est pas demain qu’on risque de les voir au pouvoir.»

Well, this at least answers why La Marois is basically turning her back on unions. They continue to lend support, however tepid, to her party.  La Marois can afford to take them for granted– at least for now.

These days, the brass of the FTQ and the CSN are not backing the Parti-Quebecois or any other party for that matter, not even Quebec Solidaire They are simply telling their members to vote for the most labour friendly candidate in their riding which would be anyone from the PQ, QS or Option Nationale, another much smaller left leaning sovereigntist party.  Ok, fair enough. That is what PSAC tells their members every election.

Peladeau jr, assuming he wins his seat in St-Jerome and assuming the PQ gets back in, either with a minority or a majority,  would be the darling to reassure all that he would save Quebec’s economy no doubt following Harpernomics.  Stevie, his ideological match. Stevie, with whom he had dined at 24 Sussex.

However, Stephen Maher brings reality into Peladeau Jr. — the “great business man” .

A cursory look at the balance sheet does not support that assertion.

In Quebecor’s financial statements in 1996 — the year before the death of PKP’s father, Pierre Peladeau — Quebecor had revenues of $6.2 billion. According to the 2013 financial statements, last year Quebecor had revenues of $4.2 billion, quite a lot less.

He further ran his father’s printing empire, Quebecor World into the ground.

Supposedly Junior is a fan of the free markets, is he? Ha! He has enjoyed federal government subsidies to the tune of half billion dollars and then some .

“Quebecor has received more than half-a-billion dollars in direct and indirect subsidies and benefits from Canadian taxpayers over the past three years, yet it is not accountable to them.”

The public subsidies have allowed Quebecor to make profits, yet it “complains that its TVA television network ‘competes’ against Radio-Canada,” CBC claims.

The CBC also alleges that Quebecor president Pierre Karl Peladeau has written more than a dozen letters to Prime Minister Stephen Harper to ask that his government advertise more in the company’s newspapers.


A document attached to the news release lists what CBC says is the public money Quebecor and its print and broadcast properties have received since 2008.

It itemizes $61-million received through the Canadian Media Fund and $13-million that flowed through the Canadian Periodicals Fund to Quebecor magazine titles such as 7 Jours, TV Hebdo and Clin d’Oeil.

But the bulk of the money is an estimate of the cash Quebecor saved by obtaining wireless bandwidth without going through a more competitive auction process that would have raised the price. The CBC puts these savings at $333-million.

More in the link I provided just above.

Yup, government financial aid without accountability that it so demanded of CBC/Radio Canada.  What’s good for the goose is not necessarily good for the gander.

He wanted a hockey rink, but only if government (any level, really)  bought it for him.

He demanded a must carry license at the CRTC for Stun News because he was a ‘big believer in free markets’.

Oh and did I mention the Caisse de Depot ponied up  2.9B$ to help junior with his legal challenge against Rogers Cable to purchase Videotron?

The deal worked out well for Quebecor, but not so well for the Caisse — which took a $1.1 billion writedown on the deal — or for its CEO, who left under fire.


But the golden goose is the stream of cable fees that the Caisse arranged for him to receive, a financial windfall backstopped by Quebec pensioners under the political supervision of Landry.

Peladeau gets rich off of the purchase of Videotron, but off the backs of Quebec pensions that many a hard working Quebecer worked hard for.

In short, Peladeau Jr is not a self made man by a long shot. His wealth is basically built from an inheritance from his father, government subsidies (including the feds) and Quebecers’ pension funds. Nice.  Let’s not forget the workers who had been continuously locked out under his watch to show appreciation for their contributions to his largesse.

It is also reported that Peladeau jr is suggesting selling Hydro Quebec to pay down our debt.

“Si pour toutes sortes de raisons, la collectivité décidait de vendre HQ. Ça vaut combien? 80? 90 milliards $? C’est d’autant de ressources qui vont diminuer l’endettement.” – Péladeau

There’s a comforting thought. The potential sale of our largest resource, a product of the Quiet Revolution, to pay off the debt.

It should be noted that Peladeau Junior arrogantly still maintains that he will continue to hold on to his Quebecor shares should he win. To date, la Marois has not really denounced him.  Although, interestingly, some cracks are starting to show when La Marois literally shoved Peladeau jr aside when trying to answer a reporter’s questions on Junior’s conflict of interest issues .  However, she gave a non-answer.

The pair were asked about Nurun, an IT company owned by Quebecor, which has a number of contracts with the province.

As the controlling shareholder of Quebecor, Peladeau will have a generous amount of ethical conflicts if he is elected. He has said he would refuse to sell his shares, even if asked by the province’s ethics commissioner.

Marois said Peladeau would have no say over contracts as a member of government.

“The contracts which are given to the government are given thanks to a financial administration law which provides rules that frame the granting of those contracts…it’s an administrative process, it’s never, never a political question,” she said.

So it starts, the type of stuff that is reviewed at the Charbonneau Inquiry is already starting to haunt the PQ.

Interesting happening here. One has to wonder which of these two micro-managers is running this dog and pony show?  Peladeau Jr., not known to play nicely with others and definitely not used to being led by anyone, is relegated to the role of back-up singer — for now.

La Marois, as indicated in her campaign ad I linked to above, also projects a leader running a one woman show.

With all the knives Pauline Marois has wielding around her within her own circles, why on Gawd’s green earth would she select this overrated heir and dilettante who would surely hold the machete?  La Marois, who had promised to end corruption once and for all is apparently deciding to look the other way while Peladeau jr blatantly admits he will breach ethics (though he did offer a rather tepid promise of ‘cooperating’ with the ethics commissioner, yeah, right!). More to the point, Peladeau junior’s financial successes came with help from all over creation, pretty much; a walking contradiction; why would anyone think that he has such credibility to handle the economy? Simply because he was a tyrant as an employer and was married to long time sovereigntist starlet, Julie Snyder? Wow, the bar is set pretty low, ain’t it?

Funny, the original Parti-Quebecois make up was completely different than what they’re made up of today.

The PQ cabinet of the time did include the pin-striped, fiscal conservative Jacques Parizeau, yes, but also the worker-priest Jacques Couture, the labour lawyer Robert Burns, the broadcaster Lise Payette (for whom a young Pauline Marois served as executive assistant), the former student leader Claude Charron and the progressive Christian philosopher and theologian Louis O’Neill.

There were no billionaires in that gang.

It was largely the reason why the Parti-Quebecois was appealing to the working class and why labour unions supported them.  Now, Quebec Solidaire has taken its’ place with its’ composition of mainly community leaders and activists from women’s, anti-poverty, housing rights, labour and many others, yet labour unions won’t back them. I’m sure if Rene Levesque were still alive, he might have been pleased to be a part of Quebec Solidaire.

The Parti-Quebecois has now proven to be a regressive party in more ways than one.

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