Psst…hey, buddy! Wanna buy a gun permit?


May issue laws an abuse just waiting to happen

Dennis E. Florianby Dennis E. Florian

For years now, all of us have known quite well that anything even remotely resembling “may issue” permit laws is a recipe for cronyism, bribes and corruption of all flavours.  Now we have even more proof, in the unfolding of the latest chapter of Liberal party slime and sleaze currently playing itself out in Quebec. 

Tony Tomassi, Quebec’s Family Minister, has been accused of accepting bribes from Luigi Corelli, a Liberal party financial supporter who had, by pure coincidence, won plenty of government contracts.  Some Canadians may roll their eyes and say that it’s just a rerun of Adscam and the idea of the federal Liberals taking money is nothing new, so why should provincial ones be any different?  While Liberal money laundering is nothing new, there is one new little angle to this particular story:  It seems Corelli had tried to get an ATC (Authorization To Carry, Canada’s permit to carry a concealed firearm) and been denied by the province’s CFO (Chief Firearms Officer).  He ended up getting the thing anyway though; right after a meeting with Jacques Dupuis – the Quebec Public Security Minister – which was set up by, you guessed it, Mr. Tomassi.

So let me see if I’ve got all this straight in my head.  It was a Liberal government that brought us Bill C-68 in the first place – along with licensing, registration and astoundingly placebic storage and transport regulations – and Quebec is the most anti-gun owner province in the country.  So naturally, nobody in Quebec is ever getting to walk around with a gun unless they’re a policeman, or a customs officer, or an armoured car guard … or they stuff the right pockets.  Liberal pockets, of course.

Unsurprisingly, Quebec Premier Jean Charest (already suffering from a dismal 16% approval rating) went into full damage control spin faster than you can say “oh, merde,” giving Tomassi the heave-ho from both the Ministry and the Quebec Liberal caucus.  That just left the question of what to do with his Public Security Minister.

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Dupuis is, of course, denying the very notion that he could ever, ever have done anything that wouldn’t pass the smell test.  Or, as CJAD so amusingly put it: “After the meeting, Dupuis says the head of his office did call the SQ, but didn’t exert any influence.”

Uh huh; I guess that’s some sort of Quebecois slang for “move along, nothing to see here.”

Where we’re at

In case you’re getting a headache from this plate of spaghetti of a story, here’s a review so far:

  1. Corelli gives Liberals money and gets government contracts (sound familiar?).
  2. He wants to carry a handgun around with him (while working at his security company, BCIA, which had already gotten roughly $8.3 million in government green, according to the Gazette) but his permit application is rejected.
  3. Corelli calls Tomassi, who sets up a meeting with Dupuis.
  4. Corelli meets with Dupuis first, then with the minister’s chief of staff, Jocelyn Turcotte.
  5. Turcotte gets on the horn and has a little chat with the SQ (that’s the Sûreté du Québec – the provincial police force).

Dupuis, of course, is as innocent as a newborn babe in the midst of all this uproar.  Just ask Dupuis.  Why, he didn’t even know that Corelli was even a donor to the Liberal party.  One can hardly blame Charest for wishing earnestly that the whole awful mess would just go away.

The chances of that happening are slim to none.  There are just too many questions left lying around.  What was the role of the provincial CFO?  Is anything going to happen to Turcotte?  What else do we have coming down the pipe from the story of Tony and Luigi?

And how long has that copy of the Sopranos been on my DVD shelf?

You can also find stories on this at the Montreal Gazette, CTV, the CBC. and the Edmonton Journal.

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