February 29, 2012

Government and Politics and Corruption

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Can one exist without the other?  It seems that all levels of government are subject to this.  I will refrain from mentioning other countries, as my own has its fair share of problems and scandals.

This morning, the news announced that the mayor of my humble little town is being investigated by the UPAC ( unité permanente d’anti-corruption, the anti-corruption squad), and that search warrants were being distributed to several interesting parties.

St-Constant City Hall, Robert J. Galbraith, The Gazette
St-Constant City Hall, Robert J. Galbraith, The Gazette

Here is a little backstory

In 2007, Quebec Superior Court removed Pepin and a slate of municipal councillors from office, for exceeding limits on campaign spending by some 40 per cent.

Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Corruption+squad+makes+move+Gilles+Pepin+mayor+Constant/6225827/story.html#ixzz1nneVPnPE

Now this same mayor was re-elected in a by election in 2008, and then again in a general election in 2009 (don’t ask how, I didn’t vote for him).  This mayor has been throwing money at new projects like it would put out a fire or something.  Some of the projects make sense, and are needed to sustain the town that has grown in the past 10~15 years from a mere village with a couple thousand residents to the +25K residents we have now.

source -- evanstonpubliclibrary.files.wordpress.com
source -- evanstonpubliclibrary.files.wordpress.com

Nobody questions the validity of some of the projects, i.e. a new arena, since the one we have is the oldest of the region and is probably costing more to keep running than to build a new one.   Or building a new library, if you’ve ever been to the St-Constant library, you’d understand in a heartbeat the need for one ( we wanted to donate some old, or previously read, English books since they don’t have any, and were told we would like to, but we don’t even have the room to store them ).  I digress, that’s the topic for another time.


The main problem, is the process in selecting the projects, the (lack) of propositions that, and some of the other projects that were approved ( and started ) that just don’t make sense.  The common motto seems to be to “revitalise” the city, and bring it forward.  I’m not against doing this, at a controlled pace, i.e. one that the city can afford.  There are a lot of new and young families in my town, part of the population turnover that is occurring.  I’m actually in favor of some of the projects, but 20 million for a new library building, when there was a proposal for just over 5 million for a better solution, or why not just expand the old one, it has the space ( tiny building on huge area ).  As for revitalising, how about some more kid friendly parks, or a public pool that isn’t older than I am, and that isn’t open only from 11 to 3pm weekdays only, instead of building a brand new shopping area stuck to a train station.

This mayor needs to go, and we need someone that can see the ideas, and implement them properly.  I know this is what everyone level of citizen wants from their government, its just a shame when the corruption hits so close to home sometimes.  I guess I am not a politician, I actually believed that an elected official would actually try to better the city they live in, the city that elected them to improve that same city, not just steal the city’s money for their own gain.

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