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Duceppe’s Double Standard: Praise for Sovereignist Billionaire, Condemnation of Federalist Millionaire

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors.
Duceppe’s Double Standard: Praise for Sovereignist Billionaire, Condemnation of Federalist Millionaire

Along with other “left-leaning” figures of the Québec sovereignist movement, Gilles Duceppe recently signed an open letter praising the political engagement of billionaire media and anti-union employer Pierre Karl Péladeau, now running for election as a PQ candidate.

The letter claims that Péladeau will effectively avoid any conflict of interest simply by putting his shares into a blind trust, just like Paul Martin did with Canada Steamship Lines (CSL) when he was Minister of Finance.

However, as leader of the Bloc Québécois in the early 2000s, Duceppe held Paul Martin to a much higher standard. Putting the Martin family business, Canada Steamship Lines (CSL), into a blind trust was not good enough for the Bloc Québécois. And even after Paul Martin actually transferred ownership of CSL to his sons in 2003, the Bloc demanded that he have his sons sell the company.

The following is a quote from a Bloc Québécois 2004 election brochure:

“Paul Martin admitted that he would have been in a conflict of interest position had he remained owner of CSL and that is the reason he transferred his business to his sons. But that did not settle the matter for Paul Martin because, whether he or his sons own CSL, the situation remains the same. To avoid all conflict of interest, Paul Martin should have his sons sell his multinational company.”

Is there one standard for federalist millionaires and another for sovereignist billionaires? Perhaps it will be easier for Québec workers to bear the yoke of capitalist oppression knowing that the profits of their labour are filling the coffers of a souverainiste engagé.

David Bernans is a Québec-based writer and translator. He is the author of Collateral Murder. Follow him on twitter @dbernans.

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