Even Le Devoir, the Quebec newspaper with sovereignist sympathies, highlighted this morning the bizarre choice of Daniel Paille as the investigator into the polling activity of the Chretien government.
The first sentence reads (translation mine; read the original): “The Conservatives in Ottawa have retained the services of a battle hardened souvereignist to hunt down the federal Liberals” The article goes on to ask all the obvious questions about conflict of interest that you would see in the anglophone press, the obvious questions that the Conservatives did not think through. An anonymous conservative is quoted as saying: “Let’s just say that it (the announcement) didn’t come out the way we had thought it would.”
The article is quite damning and ends with a reminder for those who forgot who Daniel Paille is: “Daniel Paille is a person who got a lot of attention during his short political career in Quebec. Notably, he let the mayor of Montreal, Pierre Bourque, know that he (Paille) was opposed to the opening of a daycare across the street from his residence and he did this in a letter written on official stationary from the ministry of Industry, Commerce and Technology which was his department at the time. Later, he was forced to apologize to the national assembly. […] He was also the father of the controversial Paille plan to assist the start of new businesses. Due to the bankruptcy of more than a quarter of the businesses that benefitted from the plan, the Quebec treasury lost 116.5 million dollars.”
Michael Fortier is in good company. Paille certainly sounds like an Alberta Conservative. ;)
I have a great deal of respect for many "separatist" politicians. There is nothing wrong with a sovereignist serving in the government or heading public inquiries. Quebec would collapse otherwise. But then again, I don’t think anyone in their right mind is suggesting that sovereignists should be excluded from public office. The context of the investigation into the polling practices of the federal government during the period that includes the referendum is however altogether a different thing. The character and history of the candidate who leads the investigation, which in any event is unnecessary because the Auditor General has already investigated the matter, should not allow the perception of bias.
If Michael Fortier is selling it, don't buy it. Vendu tel quel.
Bravo Le Devoir!
Now let's get back to something that really matters like health care.