Friday, April 22, 2011

Duceppe's Easter weekend bomb

Interesting audiotapes someone has there, released by Gilles Duceppe on Thursday. That 2:45 mark especially.

Le Devoir has background today on the story and further, why the Abdallah appointment would have been favoured by developers. It was their top story.

From the Canadian Press report yesterday:
The calls, posted anonymously on YouTube and quoted by Bloc Quebecois Gilles Duceppe, seem to suggest an attempt was made by Accurso and fellow construction executive Bernard Poulin to influence a federal appointment. The postings of the unverified recordings include written notes alleging who the speakers are, and the people they are talking about.

Harper's director of communications Dimitri Soudas and friend Leo Housakos, now a senator, are discussed by the figures in the recordings as being able to secure the appointment of Robert Abdallah as president of the Port of Montreal in 2007.

"I'll start talking to (Housakos), if you want, if he's ready to put his buddy Soudas in the business. His buddy Soudas, he can twist arms harder than anyone else," Poulin says in the recording to someone cited as Accurso.

Poulin adds later: "Maybe he could come up with some compensation if he succeeds in delivering something," referring to Soudas as the "real boss of Quebec."
Note this on Poulin's reaction:
Poulin, president of Groupe S.M. International, acknowledged in a statement Thursday one of the recordings was an interception of a private telephone conversation without his permission. He is suing La Presse newspaper for posting the audio on its website.
Both Harper and Soudas have acknowledged that the Prime Minister's Office did indicate its preference for Abdallah as port president at one point, but he was ultimately not chosen. Abdallah, Housakos and Soudas all once worked at the City of Montreal.
Soudas and Harper have both denied the allegations.

The timing of Duceppe's release of this information was notable. The morning after the two polls showing his support declining in Quebec. Makes him look like the guy leading on the "standing up for Quebec" front against Harper, firming up his vote in those seats where he faces the biggest threat from Conservatives.

Something for Quebecers and Canadians to ponder this holiday weekend. To what end, we'll see but it certainly has to compound trouble for Conservatives there and maybe elsewhere too.