Montreal is fast becoming the city of corrupt civic government and best known for a city and surrounding cities unable to keep a mayor in office and out of jail. It is hard for the average citizen to understand just how deep the collusion goes in the administering of this city and the total ramifications caused as a result of it for what seems like over 3 decades of corruption. Infrastructure like road repair, sewer systems upgrading and maintenance, building inspectors all done with cost overruns all done with corruption and without transparency. The latest to fall is interim Mayor of Montreal, Michael Applebaum. Michael Applebaum is also Montreal’s first Jewish mayor and he has resigned following his arrest on 14 counts of corruption, saying, “It is the responsible thing to do”. I would like to be able to say that Michael Applebaum admitted his guilt and resigned, or that the evidence was so strong that Michael Applebaum was left with no choice but to resign to save his family and himself some embarrassment as the facts of the case were leaked out with him still claiming his innocence, but this is not what the evidence in this case suggest so far and this is not what Michael Applebaum is stating publicly, “I maintain my innocence. I have every intention of continuing to fight like I always have, and I want to be clear: I have never taken a penny from anybody.”
I guess there are just a few things that I do not understand about our new justice system such as:
- Why there is no longer any meaning to the term innocent until proved guilty in this country?
(b) Quebec Premier Pauline Marois says that Montreal Mayor Michael Applebaum has no choice but to resign.
- Why is it that once you have accused someone of something in public it is no longer necessary to provide the evidence for the deformation of said person or persons character?
(a)Police said that “these were bribes that influenced a decision, approvals or permit distribution.”
(b) “Given how serious the allegations are, (Applebaum) should step aside,” Marois said. I would ask,” Where is the proof”?
- Why are people being asked, or being made to feel that they have no choice but to resign their offices before they are found guilty in a court of law, or admitting their guilt?
(a) “Being mayor of Montreal is not something that one can do while defending oneself against accusations of this nature”, said Michael Applebaum.
(b) Quebec Premier Pauline Marois says that Montreal Mayor Michael Applebaum has no choice but to resign.
- Why have headlines and half stories like these become the only proof that us voters need to be shown in order for us to feel we are able to form an opinion of guilt or innocence of a person or persons these days?
(a) Charges relate to “Tens of thousands of dollars” allegedly taken in bribes by Mayor Michael Applebaum over the construction of two real estate projects in Montreal’s Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough between 2006 and 2011, while he was mayor of the borough.
(b) Montreal’s Jewish mayor arrested on corruption charges.
Unfortunately there was no supporting evidence offered up at press time, or up to now confirming the accuracy, or the necessity of these charges.
In the case of Mayor Applebaum, Premier Pauline Marois and the police in my opinion, at the very least have dropped the ball in this affair.
(a) Premier of Quebec, Pauline Marois, backed the nomination and the replacing of mayor Tremblay with Michael Applebaum. For her to say now that, “We live in a society of laws and we had no way of knowing he would be accused of anything,” , to me is like trying to have her cake and eat it too, because now she is saying that we must ignore the law and he must resign before being found guilty in a court of law or admitting his guilt. (“Given how serious the allegations are, (Applebaum) should step aside,” Marois said.)
(b) All evidence leads me to believe that Michael Applebaum was under investigation by the police well before he decided to seek the position of interim mayor of Montreal and that police not only thought that they had evidence that linked him to corruption, but chose to withhold it and by that decision allowed Michael Applebaum to gain the position of mayor of Montreal.
I believe however that this is political grandstanding by the police and Marois. To allow as they contend a corrupt person to take the office of mayor, only to take it away at a more convenient time. I feel that perhaps they delayed coming forward with the charges to grab better headlines for their new investigation unit and make Pauline Marois look good. I say if this is true then this is political opportunism at its worst. The charges against Michael Applebaum relate to two real estate projects in Montreal’s Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough between 2006 and 2011, while Applebaum was mayor of the borough.
No trial, no evidence, but Marois states publicly that the first English mayor of Montreal in over 100 years should resign as mayor under the circumstances; what circumstances? I would ask are they (These circumstances) any different from the circumstances that had her and her husband accused of suspect land dealings, that alleged that they supposedly got the land that her castle was built on for dirt cheap and that there were certain peculiarities in the rezoning of said land? Pauline Marois stated at the time that the accusations were not true, but did not do the right thing as she now sees it and resign from her office; not the Queen she threatened to take her accusers to court for deformation of character and seek big money. I guess the reason she did all that was because she did not see her resignation under those circumstances in the best interest of the province of Quebec; besides even when Quebec was forced to deal with her alleged acts of impropriety, I think that she thought that if she resigned Quebec would never get by this ugly chapter in its history without her.
I am finding the justification for and the increasing use of trial by media getting way out of hand and unfair to the citizens of Canada and to the public figures accused of a crime. I am beginning not to care what I read, or hear in the news about politicians, because the press in general is becoming just another tool of political parties, another part of their political machine and so are just spewers of party ideology, rhetoric and spin. Look at the senators, those men and women who get the patronage appointments and you start to see what I mean with the likes of Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin, then look back on what you thought was objective reporting and tell me if you still think so. The Conservatives have proved beyond a doubt in my mind that they are guilty of dumping their political allies in the press into jobs for life, as reward for their bias reporting of the news and their fund-raising capabilities. the Conservatives have gone as far as to defend and protect these fraudsters when they bilked Canadian tax payers out of hundreds of thousands of dollars for fraudulent expense claims.
What I am getting at is that the press is not to be trusted, because their editors, management and their reporters are actively being recruited and are accepting offers by political parties to fund raise and run for political office. With the prospect of a lucrative appointment, or a chance to run for government office open to the right reporter saying the right things, or the editor allowing certain stories to run that may not be totally factual, I think that all of this makes their reporting suspect in my humble opinion. This is one of the reasons that politicians such as Mayor Michael Applebaum of Montreal and Mayor Rob Ford of Toronto are being tried in the press and the news papers such as the Toronto Star gets away with it. Running stories without having the proof and without one shred of the supporting fact based evidence to substantiate career ending accusations and innuendo is now the norm in news media. this is why politicians like Rob Ford and Michael Applebaum know that they will never get their side of the story into the biased news and probably never see a retraction when the evidence is not forth coming as in the Rob Ford case in Toronto. Donna Saker of “The Beat of Montreal”, who I love said this while talking about a certain mayor on her radio show, “Just thinking about that mayor makes me want to puke. I wonder why any of us should pay taxes” and I could not help but think, “Your smarter than that Donna, why so angry without the proof?”
Is Michael Applebaum guilty of what he is being accused of? I do not know, because so far all I have seen is a very public arrest done in a manner to embarrass and intimidate Michael Applebaum and all I have heard up to now from anyone is accusations without proof. The police have laid charges, but have refused to comment further which is proper, but does nothing to prove that their charges are justified. Their has been a lot of speculating by the press, Pauline Marois and political opponents of Michael Applebaum, but this is not the same as proof. I would say that right now only Michael Applebaum knows for sure whether he is guilty, or not and the rest of us have to wait for the trial at which time the evidence will be brought forward that support the charges and finally the verdict. This is the proper procedure we should be following to determine Michael Applebaum’s guilt or innocence, if it is true as Pauline Marois states that we live in a society of laws.
What I do know is that Montreal did not need to go through this whole process again, go through more shame. I say this, “If the proof was there before Michael Applebaum became the interim mayor of Montreal the charges should have been made then. This is the 2nd interim mayor in Quebec who has been allowed to go through the steps of running for office, attaining it and then being forced to resign and I have to wonder what is going on and is this to be the new way of doing things (The interim mayor of Laval). Have the police become a political tool now as well as the news media? What is the driving force behind Michael Applebaum’s arrest and the charges laid by police, that was not as important when he was vying for the job of mayor? What suddenly made his arrest and being charged more important of late than when he was vying for the job? Why are we the voters, the citizens once again being kept in the dark?”
We as citizens expect that when we are accused of something that breaks the law that we will be given a chance to prove our innocence and remain innocent until proved guilty, so why is it that we are increasingly willing to deny this right to politicians and other public figures, like ex-mayor Michael Applebaum? I contend that whether it is proved that Michael Applebaum is guilty of a crime or not, had no choice to resign, because he had already been tried and convicted in the press with consent of his peers and colleagues and the premier of Quebec and the citizens of Montreal. I feel that he felt that all that was left of his life was his family and their protection from the constant harassment from the press and their attacks on his character that would have escalated if he chose to stay and fight from his seat as mayor and this makes it a bad day for justice and the rule of law in Quebec and all of Canada, but especially for Montreal. In my opinion, Michael Applebaum was a victim of dirty politics, irresponsible media reports and an increasingly blood thirsty, gullible public. I personally will wait for the court trial and some real evidence before I pronounce guilt or innocence on Michael Applebaum.
Finally I say to you this, “When Pauline Marois said that even though we have not seen any evidence to substantiate the charges of corruption leveled against mayor Applebaum, but that the seriousness of the charges he faced gave mayor Applebaum no choice but to resign, she along with Vision Montreal leader Louise Harel and the PQ minister responsible for the Montreal region, Jean-François Lisée were in fact saying that there is no such thing as being innocent until proved guilty in Quebec and opened up the flood gates that could see them all tried, convicted and removed from office in the press, rather than in a court of law”.
- Montreal waits to hear from its mayor (globalnews.ca)
- Quebec premier says Montreal mayor should resign (cbc.ca)
- Montreal Mayor Michael Applebaum resigns, asserts innocence (jta.org)