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)

Construction, Corruption, and a Crumbling Government

Posted on | July 31, 2011 | 15 Comments

Popular enthusiasm over the necessity to hold a public inquiry commission on corruption in the construction industry had faded some time ago. The government found other things to worry about; Amir Khadir had other polemics to unleash. Maybe we should bring it back to everyone’s mind.

Montreal’s roads are gradually crumbling away. The Champlain Bridge is in ruins. The Ville-Marie tunnel was exposed today as a notorious mouse trap (fortunately not harming anyone!). We’ve stopped counting the number of overpasses that needed to be brought down and built entirely anew.

Meanwhile we’ve stopped worrying about this. Slowly, insidiously what was at first only small-time crooks cheating harmlessly on contracts, on the quality of materials morphed into an institutionalized gangrene, paying off elected officials, lowering the quality of the work, using substandard materials (remember the Concorde overpass). This transformation seems normal to us. “That’s how things work” is what we commonly hear – a convenient excuse to shrug the problem off and negate our share of responsibility in this problem.

Jean Charest has always stubbornly rejected to hold this inquiry commission. What is he waiting for? For the next disaster to claim sufficient human lives and force him to do it? This public inquiry commission is necessary to bring to light the full extent of this evil, of this cancer which is corroding every layer of our society, to pierce the abscess and collectively determine how to rethink the interaction between the government and the industry.

It won’t happen spontaneously. The establishment in place has too much to lose and will live in a permanent state of denial – after all, nobody died… yet… We need to send ASAP a clear message to this government: lack of action is not acceptable policy. The stakes are too high; I will not put my life at risk just so the game of small brown envelopes can live on.

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