Common Sense Comes to Town!

Common sense is the most fairly distributed thing in the world, for each one thinks he is so well-endowed with it that even those who are hardest to satisfy in all other matters are not in the habit of desiring more of it than they already have. (Descartes)

A Quebec Triumvirate

Posted on | March 2, 2011 | No Comments

Jean Charest, Régis Labeaume and Pierre-Karl Péladeau unite their strenght to erect a new building in Quebec City. The new imperial palace will be the crown jewel of Quebecor’s absolute sovereign, of the undisputed autocrat of Quebec City and of the Liberal Party’s infallible pope. But as every triumvirate is necessarily unstable, it may be appropriate for our three contenders to sit through one or two history lessons.  

An altogether different triumvirate regrouped over 2000 years ago three now legendary characters: Caesar, Pompey and Marcus Crassus. Crassus’ wealth supposedly amounted to more than 200 millions sestertii; he had successfully crushed the slave revolt led by Spartacus. While Charest does not have the same standing, it did succeed in crushing the Crown Attorney’s protest (and a few others) using special laws, and invested 200 million dollars in Quebec City’s future amphitheatre. Unfortunately, Crassus died shortly after the beginning of the triumvirate – in all likelihood Charest’s political survival will be just as brief.

 Caesar and Pompey remained. At first consolidating their alliance through the wedding of Caesar’s daughter to Pompey, they later waged a merciless war on each other for the control of Rome. Pompey was a brilliant politician, supported by the Senate, and undisputed ruler of his city, just like Mayor Labeaume. Caesar had to impose himself abroad – his chronicles on the conquest of Gaul turned him into a popular hero. He was thus one of the first to use media convergence for political means, a model now faithfully copied by PKP.

Unfortunately for Pompey, popular acclaim proved more important than political influence – he was assassinated in Egypt some time later, and Caesar afterwards consolidated his power. Should our friend Péladeau see this as a good omen, as he exerts more control over public opinion through his own media empire?

Maybe Caesar’s fate will enlighten us. The latter, too greedy, tried to gain perpetual dictatorial power over the Republic. This led directly to his assassination on March 15, 44 BC. Still, the triumvirate’s actions had deep repercussions which led to the downfall of the Republic and the birth of the Roman Empire.

 What remains to be seen is whether PKP’s greed will equal Caesar’s, and if the consequences will be the same, leading either to the dismemberment of his empire or to the enslavement of local population through his media power.

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  • Photographie par Patrick Meunier

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