Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Arthur Porter, the McGill University Mega Hospital and Philippe Couillard

Okay, it's past the time to un-elect Philippe Couillard premier of Quebec, but some serious questions should be asked about his relationship with Arthur Porter, the disgraced former head of the big McGill hospital project.  Yesterday at the Charbonneau Commission into corruption in the construction industry and political party financing, Porter's neck-deep involvement in kick backs and fraud was once again exposed. 

The National Post reports:
"Sgt. Jean-Frédérick Gagnon of the Sûreté du Québec testified that Dr. Porter personally received $11.25-million in payments from SNC-Lavalin Inc., paid to a shell company in the Bahamas. Dr. Porter’s right-hand man at the MUHC, Yanai Elbaz, received the same amount through a second shell company, Sgt. Gagnon said, making for a total kickback of $22.5-million in exchange for ensuring SNC won the contract."

Couillard was Quebec Minister of Health from 2003-2008, during the beginning of the hospital's construction.  Porter was named director of the project in 2004, and while Couillard has noted that it was the hospital's board that made the appointment, that was on his watch.  Furthermore, he was a business partner with Porter in a health-related company (which Couillard says never did any business) and they sat together on two rather powerful boards of directors. 

Either Couillard knew about what was going on, in which case he should have set of alarms, or he didn't, and that casts a long shadow on Couillard's competence and his involvement in Old Boys networks. 

Moral: Old boys can't be trusted. Corruption hurts us all.  Whistle-blowing should be rewarded.

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