Archive for February, 2017

Trudeau’s Apology Falls 10 Feet Short

February 27, 2017

– a Lockeblog exclusive –


Ayer’s Cliff mayor Alec van Zuiden poses an English question to the prime minister at a Liberal Party Jan 17 townhall meeting in Sherbrooke, Quebec. Justin Trudeau answered in French, and to date has offered no personal apology.

By Jack Locke

Although Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologized to one person he insulted at his January 17 Sherbrooke townhall meeting, he has neglected to apologize to the other 5 people he treated rudely.

In an exclusive interview with one of the forgotten five – Ayer’s Cliff mayor Alec Van Zuiden, who posed his question in English and was responded to in French – he makes it clear no apology was tendered.

“An apology? No. That said, I was not expecting one frankly,” say van Zuiden in an email, “No, he did not call nor send me a letter.”

The mayor had asked about his region’s dire need for support for small business, where a majority of businesses are made up of four persons or less.

A month following his crude public display, much publicity was made when the Prime Minister apologized to Judy Ross and to the Quebec Community Groups Network. But respect for the other 5 persons directly dissed by Prime Minister Trudeau was once again denied.

Although much of he country was offended by Trudeau’s insensitivity, the mayor remains philosophical.

        “…an affront to common civic decency…”
                                         – Mayor Alec van Zuiden

“Long story short – and as mayor, let alone just a human being – I well understand we can all make mistakes,” he says, “while there is no question his announced position at the Sherbrooke town hall was an affront to common civic decency – he has acknowledged the error; in the name of everything holy – let’s move on.”

In his email, the mayor speaks glowingly of his Liberal member of parliament, Marie-Claude Bibeau and her staff.

“They were, and continue to be, most helpful in various matters of concern not only to me as mayor but to the community as a whole. I have rarely seen such implication from an elected official at a grass roots level and the subsequent involvement of staff.”

Ever humble, van Zuiden notes how he might have proceeded.

“If I had prefaced my introduction the way I had planned, ‘Good evening Justin, my name is Alec the mayor of a bilingual status community so recognized by the province of Québec, as such I would welcome you to respond to my query in English if you would,’” writes van Zuiden.

“Alas, that whole line simply skipped my mind when I got up…”

A call to the Prime Minister’s office has not yet been returned.






2% Justice At Applebaum Sentence Hearing

February 15, 2017

Montreal – Although he was convicted of  breach of trust, and sordid other charges, former Montreal mayor Michael Applebaum’s sentence hearing today had a level of justice hovering around 2%. Stay with me, I’ll explain.

The day began with heart-wrenching testimony by Applebaum’s faithful son Dylan, a 23-year old Concordia student.

“My grandmother is still alive and my dad calls her every day. She’s 88 years old and we have her over for dinner almost every Friday,” said the young Applebaum, his voice cracking with emotion. The sentence hearing is to determine what punishment the former mayor is to receive, whether he goes to jail.

The young but poised Applebaum explained how his deceased grandfather had had a shoe store that his father worked at when 13 years of age. Tears well-up as he testified. And when the grandfather was dying, Michael Applebaum never left his side for days on end. Wiping away more tears, Dylan said both he and his mother depended on his father for family stability.

“Were you born?” asked Judge Louise Provost, observing that a 23 year old was not likely to witness his father working at age 13. Dylan explained that this information was relayed to him by his grandparents.

“I wanted to be here, I could not not be here” to support my father, insisted Dylan, speaking English. He told of how he went door-to-door supporting his father in the early campaign days. He spoke of how Michael and his wife adopted two girls who became Dylan’s sisters. A pattern of kindness shown by the convicted man was clearly developing.

All the while, Judge Louise Provost took copious notes. But I suspect it’s all theatre. This is the denouement to the major action, which saw Applebaum convicted by the testimony of his former aid Hugo Tremblay, an admitted thief. Maybe thief is too kind for the acknowledged bribe taker who took a plea bargain to implicate his boss.

The testimony of Tremblay had all the odour of a cattle feedlot, but was accepted virtually whole-heartedly by Judge Provost. Incomprehensible.

Although Applebaum’s supporting witnesses today were miniscule in number, the only other witness, Salvatore Sansalone, was persuasive, confident, and compelling while speaking French. The hearing was a typical bilingual smorgasboard.

With his arms outstretched like a tripod for much of his testimony, Sansalone expressed his utmost faith in Applebaum. Either Applebaum had been abandoned by his previous friends, or his lawyer chose not to call many witnesses, or a combination of both. You have to wonder why a stellar cast of witnesses was not assembled.

Similarly, the courtroom was poorly designed for a sentence hearing, with bullet-proof glass enclosures looming prominently behind the defence team.

At one point, Applebaum walked past to speak to persons sitting immediately behind me. His whisper was inaudible to my ears and reminded me of mention during the trial proper when police wiretapped a conversation between Tremblay and Applebaum. At the trial, Applebaum was suspected of trying to hide his knowledge of bribes because he whispered. I think Applebaum whispers because he doesn’t want nosy people like me eavesdropping.

As the day in court went on, I was relieved when the judge called a recess for lunch. I quickly proceeded to the cafeteria. Twenty minutes later, who shows up? Judge Provost in her civvies. As she bought her lunch, I noticed her purchase a 500 ml carton of 2% milk. That’s about the percentage of justice I feel Applebaum has received(see Applebaum Conviction A Travesty.)

I had the opportunity to speak privately with Applebaum’s lawyer Pierre Teasdale about the evidence against his client. Though he disclosed nothing new.

“Will you appeal?” I asked the dignified lawyer as he stood 3 urinals down from me at the courthouse washroom.

“Are you a journalist?” he enquired.


“Well, I’m still looking at it,” he continued.

I had finished looking at “it.” Then he asked me what I thought. I explained I believed Applebaum had been convicted without a shred of evidence.

“There was evidence, but it came down to a question of reliability,” he said, “and the judge ruled on that.”

That’s about all I could get from Teasdale before he washed his hands of it, as I dried my own.

I stayed in court till late afternoon, as it was almost my nap time. As of blog time no sentence had been handed down. Good night for now.

Applebaum Conviction A Travesty

February 13, 2017

Montreal – It’s no surprise Montreal’s former-mayor Michael Applebaum was convicted of corruption. Everybody knows the dice are loaded, wrote Leonard Cohen.

The late Montreal songwriter knew of what he sang. But it is a surprise that the witnesses against Applebaum were the very people who admitted giving and receiving bribes, namely, Hugo Tremblay, Robert Stein, Anthony Keeler, and Patrice Laporte. The admitted guilty parties were not charged. The dice were loaded against the Jewish Anglophone Applebaum, who maintained his innocence throughout.

It’s a curious thing that Applebaum’s right-hand man Hugo Tremblay requested and then received a bribe of $30,000 from businessmen Robert Stein and his associate Anthony Keeler. Curious also that Tremblay demanded and received a $25,000 payoff from Laporte – supposedly in exchange for winning a service contract.

These were the only two occasions with which Applebaum is alleged to have participated in graft. No other occasions were alleged. In a political career that spanned a decade, these were the only two incidents of wrongdoing alleged against Applebaum. So how could it be that Tremblay was the requester and recipient of these bribes, of which Applebaum was charged?

Simple. When Tremblay got caught by the cops, he made an elaborate story to save his hide. He traded his guilt and a certain jail term for testifying against his former boss. A plea bargain made in Hell.

The one-time cocaine user, Tremblay, okay, maybe he used the stuff more than once, lived a higher than normal lifestyle with the excess salary he secured.

At trial, Tremblay claimed he turned over a portion of the illicit proceeds to Applebaum. But, alas, the cops could find not a scintilla of evidence to verify that detail. Not a scintilla.

In two days time Applebaum will be sentenced.* With a career in tatters, reputation destroyed, Applebaum faces time in the bighouse. It is a travesty.


* Sentencing delayed to March 30, 2017.

Bombardier’s Bone

February 9, 2017


When noodle threw Bombardier a bone

He called it a free free-market loan

But Brazil knew better

How scarlet the letter

And the WTO will rule if Canada must atone.