View Full Version : L'Oreal, The Finance Minister, His Wife and Sarkozy. The butler did it.

Magda Hassan
06-19-2010, 01:40 PM
Plenty of football to distract attention but it is interesting what the butler heard. Potential to cause much damage to many in high places.

A long time butler working for Liliane Bettencourt, head of French cosmetics firm
L'Oreal and wealthiest woman has given to the media secret
recordings he made of his employer's conversations in 2009.

"Good thing the French finance minister is Mr Woerth - you know, his
wife works for us. She is still our Chief Financial Officer at l'Oreal -
you know, the small lady - well, Woerth is OK for the "Hotel de la
Monnaie" deal..."

" Problem with Woerth. What with our difficulties with Nestle, and the
fact that his wife works for us. A lot of media scrutiny... You know...
We'll have to fire her... Anyway, I'll just give him some money and
that's all there is too it. It's not a big deal, really..."

"We have to give money to those who are seeking to be elected in the
next campaign. They'll lose, but that's nothing... Just a bit of
money...First, Valerie Pecresse for Paris, second Woerth, and third
Nicolas Sarkozy as well... Just to show that we support the right... you

"Sarkozy's secretary called me this morning... I'm to have dinner with
him this evening. I hope there'll be something better on offer than last

"It's OK, I had Sarkozy's secretary on the phone. The whole trial
business is now out of the question. The judge has been ordered to step
down... It'll all be hushed up. The case will disappear...But don't tell
anyone ! Let the lawyers do all the paperwork..."

"Nestle can't move a finger against us. They know that if Sarkozy
says :"I'm warning you, I don't want this to happen", well ... it will
be very effective indeed."

Denial after denial is coming out from Woerth's and Sarkozy's offices as
we speak. The servant is being charged with unlawfully recording
"private conversations".

But the media outlets he sold his recordings to haven't published the
juiciest bits.. yet...

Now, back to the football.

Ed Jewett
06-19-2010, 04:14 PM
This has a certain aroma about it. [Sorry, couldn't resist.] :flybye:

Magda Hassan
07-01-2010, 09:59 AM
L'Oreal fortune trial brings whiff of scandal

Page last updated at 05:22 GMT, Thursday, 1 July 2010 06:22 UK

By Hugh Schofield
BBC News, Paris http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/48221000/jpg/_48221470_48221472.jpg Labour Minister Eric Woerth's job may be on the line over the case A trial opening in Paris has wafted a scent of scandal over the government of President Nicolas Sarkozy over reports of links between one of his most important ministers and the heiress to the L'Oreal cosmetics fortune.
Labour Minister Eric Woerth, who is in charge of the key policy of pension reform, is fighting calls for his resignation after his name was mentioned in the high-profile case involving the 87-year-old Liliane Bettencourt, often described as the richest woman in Europe.
The trial is of a close friend of Liliane Bettencourt, the 63-year-old celebrity photographer Francois-Marie Banier.
He is being sued by Liliane Bettencourt's daughter Franoise because she believes he has exploited her mother's mental fragility to lay hands on part of the L'Oreal riches.
Liliane Bettencourt is the daughter of Eugene Schueller, who founded L'Oreal in 1909.
It is now the world's largest cosmetics company, and Liliane Bettencourt's wealth is put at around 17 billion euros ($20.78bn; 13.9bn).
Detail of the case has provided gripping reading. But now it has been overshadowed by the wider political story - with Eric Woerth's survival in government hanging in the balance.
Mr Woerth says he is the victim of a witchhunt by the left, which wants to whip up popular anger against the decision to increase the retirement age to 62.
Continue reading the main story (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/europe/10470723.stm#skip_feature_02)
[Eric Woerth] is very nice, and also he's the man who is in charge of your taxes. He is budget minister. He is very nice, he's a friend
Patrice de Maistre to Liliane Bettencourt
But even in the ruling UMP party, many feel the minister may have ignored for too long an unacceptable conflict of interest.
With the nation's mood at its most unforgiving thanks to a series of recent illustrations of ministerial extravagance, some fear that Mr Woerth may have become a liability.
Unexpected twist The roots of the Woerth affair lie in the apparently unconnected L'Oreal inheritance dispute.
Banier, a society aesthete who as a youth was a favourite of Salvador Dali, has indeed received money, life insurance policies and paintings from his benefactress worth many hundreds of millions of euros.
But both he and Liliane Bettencourt insist that the gifts were made over in full cognisance - and that her mental faculties are in fine working order.
Two weeks ago there was an unexpected twist.
Unbeknownst to her, Liliane Bettencourt's personal butler had been secretly recording her conversations for much of the last year - and these were made public by a news website.
http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/46905000/jpg/_46905565_008411381-1.jpg Mr Banier was once a friend of playwright Samuel Beckett The recordings were apparently intended to help the daughter's case by showing that Liliane Bettencourt is indeed in her dotage.
In fact the 87-year-old has been deaf most of her life and she does sound frail.
However, the news value of the bugged tapes lay elsewhere.
On several occasions in conversations between Liliane Bettencourt and her financial manager Patrice de Maistre, there appeared the names of Eric Woerth and his wife Florence.
Florence Woerth, it transpired, was an employee of Mr De Maistre's company Clymene, whose sole function is investing the estimated 278 million euros that Liliane Bettencourt draws annually from her 27.5% stake in L'Oreal.
Furthermore, Mr De Maistre says clearly in the tapes that he gave the job to Florence Woerth after being asked to do so by Eric Woerth. This has been strongly denied by the minister.
Florence Woerth resigned from Clymene last week.
Political donations Also in the tapes emerges strong evidence that Liliane Bettencourt has been avoiding taxes by locking up part of her fortune in two Swiss accounts.
There is also mention of an island in the Seychelles - Arros, which once belonged to the Shah of Iran.
The conversations suggest that Liliane Bettencourt has masked her ownership of the island by using a Liechtenstein front company, possibly with Mr Banier's connivance.
Finally, the tapes show that Liliane Bettencourt has made cash gifts to support political campaigns by members of the UMP, including Mr Woerth.
http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/46843000/jpg/_46843665_008360665-1.jpg Bettencourt mother and daughter are said not to be on speaking terms There is nothing illegal in this because the sums were within the allowed limits.
But what aroused suspicion is that Mr Woerth is not just a minister (and he was budget minister before he took over at labour in March) but also treasurer and chief fund-raiser for the ruling party.
At one point in the tapes, Patrice de Maistre tells Liliane Bettencourt that Eric Woerth "is very nice, and also he's the man who is in charge of your taxes. He is budget minister. He is very nice, he's a friend".
Eric Woerth's critics say they want answers to several questions.
First: Did he indeed step in to have his wife employed at Clymene?
Second: What did he know of Liliane Bettencourt's tax evasion (now admitted by De Maistre who has promised to put things in order)?
And third: Was he in any way influenced - either personally or as UMP treasurer - to turn a blind eye to Liliane Bettencourt's taxes?
Eric Woerth angrily denies allegations of wrong-doing made against him, and he has the public backing of Nicolas Sarkozy.
But even his friends are wondering how a budget minister - the man after all responsible for raising taxes - could think it right to have relations of any kind with the country's largest individual contributor.
http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/45769000/jpg/_45769805_000427226-1.jpg L'Oreal is the world's largest cosmetics producer For the president, the affair falls at a particularly inopportune time.
The country is in a truculent mood because of the gloomy economic situation, and the atmosphere has been soured further by reports of self-indulgence by several ministers.
Two ministers - Fadela Amara and Christian Estrosi - have been accused of using official apartments to lodge friends and family, while a third - Christian Blanc - had to pay back 12,000 euros of public money which he had spent on cigars.
Most people in France would probably not go quite as far as the Socialist Segolene Royal who said on Tuesday that the "whole Sarkozy system is corrupt. It is a regime which confuses public and private property and has lost all sense of the common good".
However, the Woerth affair is undoubtedly a major embarrassment.
For many it proves what they always suspected: that despite protestations to the contrary the country is still run by a smallish clan of well-connected Parisians, moving arrogantly between ministries, boardrooms, and the salons of the very rich and famous.

Magda Hassan
09-14-2010, 02:26 AM
One of France's most respected newspapers, Le Monde, says it is filing a lawsuit accusing the office of President Nicolas Sarkozy of spying on its journalists.
The paper says the presidency used the intelligence service to identify one of its sources.
Le Monde says the government was angry about its coverage of a funding scandal involving Mr Sarkozy's party.
The president's office rejected all of the paper's claims.
It said it had "never given a single instruction" to investigate Le Monde's sources.
The newspaper says the president's office was annoyed by a story it ran in July naming Labour Minister Eric Woerth in connection with an investigation into the finances of France's richest woman, L'Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt.
The authorities are investigating whether she made illegal donations to Mr Sarkozy's election campaign in 2007.
The president and Mr Woerth, who was the treasurer of Mr Sarkozy's party at the time, have denied any wrongdoing.
Le Monde said it had decided to take legal action after being told by police sources that the intelligence service had obtained the telephone records of a justice ministry official who was in contact with one of its journalists.
Le Monde says the government broke a law protecting reporters' sources.
This is the latest twist in a scandal which began as a family feud between Liliane Bettencourt and her daughter, but has mushroomed into a series of investigations into political donations, suspected tax evasion and money laundering.

Magda Hassan
07-04-2012, 12:33 AM
French police search Nicolas Sarkozy home and office

Police have carried out searches of the home and offices of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy as part of a campaign financing probe.
A law firm in which Mr Sarkozy owns shares was also searched, reports say.
The investigation is related to allegations that Mr Sarkozy's 2007 presidential election campaign received illegal donations from France's richest woman, Liliane Bettencourt.
Mr Sarkozy has previously denied all wrongdoing.
He is currently in Canada with his family, his lawyer, Thierry Herzog, told the AFP news agency.
In presidential elections in May, Mr Sarkozy lost to Socialist challenger Francois Hollande, and his presidential immunity from prosecution ended on 16 June.
Tens of thousands of euros were allegedly funnelled to Mr Sarkozy's campaign by Ms Bettencourt's office.

Individual campaign contributions in France are limited to 4,600 euros ($5,800).
"These raids... will as expected prove futile," Mr Herzog said in a statement.
'Lies and calumny'An investigating magistrate is looking into claims that staff acting for the L'Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, gave 150,000 euros in cash to Mr Sarkozy's aides during his 2007 bid to become president.
Ms Bettencourt's former accountant, Claire Thibout, alleges Mr Sarkozy's campaign treasurer - Eric Woerth - who later became his budget minister - collected the cash in person.
In addition, there are other witnesses who allege that during the 2007 campaign, Mr Sarkozy made several private visits to Ms Bettencourt's home.
But Mr Herzog has said that Mr Sarkozy's detailed diary, from the time he was interior minister and accompanied everywhere by police officers, will prove that claims of him attending those meetings were "materially impossible".
Eric Woerth is already under criminal investigation.
The charges in his case relate to claims he had used his influence as a minister to secure France's highest award, the Legion d'honneur, for Mrs Bettencourt's financial manager.
But as yet he is not under criminal investigation for the wider allegation of illegal campaign financing.
The former president has condemned the allegations he is facing as "lies and calumny".

Christian FraserBBC News, Paris
It is not so much the investigation; we have known for some time that magistrates were looking closely at the affairs of the last president and how his 2007 campaign was funded. What is far more significant is the speed with which Tuesday's operation was mounted. Nicolas Sarkozy lost the cloak of presidential immunity on 16 June and within a month his home and offices have been raided, seemingly without warning.
We don't know what was taken but it seems clear now that on the basis of witness evidence gathered, the financial crimes unit is looking for a "smoking gun". Mr Sarkozy has vehemently denied there is one to find. But then so did his predecessor!
It took the French authorities five years to catch up with former President Jacques Chirac. But in December, after a long running investigation - and no end of attempts by Mr Chirac to avoid justice - he was found guilty and handed a two-year suspended sentence for corruption. There was criticism for years that Mr Chirac had been shown favourable treatment. That is plainly not the case with Mr Sarkozy.
This operation may have uncovered nothing in material evidence but there is no escaping the symbolism. And this won't be the first or the last time Mr Sarkozy faces embarrassing questions over influence and campaign funding.

Magda Hassan
07-04-2012, 12:35 AM
I wonder if they will ever look into Gaddafi's financing of Sarkozy as well?

Magda Hassan
07-04-2012, 02:49 AM
Why Sarkozy is in Canada while police raid his Paris home
The former French president, now under investigation for illicit campaign financing, has close ties to Quebec business titan Paul Desmarais

by Martin Patriquin (http://www2.macleans.ca/author/mpatriquin/) on Tuesday, July 3, 2012 3:48pm - 1 Comment (http://www2.macleans.ca/2012/07/03/why-sarkozy-is-in-canada-while-police-raid-his-paris-home/#disqus_thread)
VIEW IN CLEAN READING MODE » (http://www2.macleans.ca/2012/07/03/why-sarkozy-is-in-canada-while-police-raid-his-paris-home/#)

WHAT IS THIS (http://www2.macleans.ca/2012/07/03/why-sarkozy-is-in-canada-while-police-raid-his-paris-home/#) ?

http://www2.macleans.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Sarko-Quebec-top-post.jpg (http://www2.macleans.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Sarko-Quebec-top-post.jpg)
Left: Paul Desmarais (Paul Chiasson/CP); right: Nicolas Sarkozy (Philippe Wojazer/Reuters)
While police rifle through his Paris residence, recently defeated French President Nicolas Sarkozy is vacationing in Quebec at a country abode owned by one of Canada’s richest families.
Fresh off his defeat in France’s June elections, Sarkozy is apparently suffering from a touch of burn out, according to a report in French magazine Le Point. The ex-President’s timing is auspicious: on Tuesday, police raided his home and office (http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-07-03/sarkozy-home-and-offices-searched-by-police-france-inter-says) as part of an investigation into illegal financing of his 2007 presidential campaign.
Sarkozy, who lost his immunity from prosecution after losing to François Hollande on June 15, faces charges that he accepted €50,000 ($63,837) from cosmetic heiress Liliane Bettencourt. The amount is significantly larger than the €4,600 ($5,873) donation limit allowed by French law, and it fueled the popular caricature of Sarkozy as a stooge to France’s idle rich. (Sarkozy denied he took the donation.)
What is perhaps more interesting on this side of the Atlantic is Sarkozy’s choice of accommodations. Located roughly one-hour’s drive north of Montreal in Quebec’s Laurentians district, the house is owned by the wealthy and discreet Desmarais family. Sarkozy is a longtime friend of patriarch Paul Desmarais, who in 1968 bought the suitably named Power Corporation and turned it into a media, insurance and investment juggernaut with 2011 revenues of just over $33 billion. (http://www.fpinfomart.ca/fpsn/snap_display.php?key=fp%7Cfpsn%7C3660) (He is #248 on the Forbes list of world billionaires.) No less than three former Prime Ministers—Brian Mulroney, Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin—worked at Power during their careers. Chrétien’s daughter France is married to André Desmarais, Paul’s son. Sarkozy has frequently vacationed in Quebec at the behest of Paul Desmarais. (http://www.lefigaro.fr/elections-legislatives-2007/20070802.FIG000000154_vacances_du_president_la_pis te_canadienne.html)
Sarkozy and Paul Desmarais, 85, reportedly met in 1995, when Sarkozy’s career was slumping. The pair walked the forests and grounds of Sagard, the Desmarais palacial spread in the Charlevoix region in Quebec’s hinterland. “You must get yourself together, you’ll get there, we must build a strategy for you,”Sarkozy remembers Desmarais saying to him. (http://www.vigile.net/L-effet-Sagard-se-fait-sentir) Wealthy in both assets and contacts in French political circles, Desmarais helped guide the precocious Sarkozy into the President’s office in 2007. “If today I am president, it’s in part due to Paul Desmarais,” Sarkozy said in 2008.
The president certainly returned the favour. In February 2008, in a ceremony attended by Quebec Premier Jean Charest, Sarkozy bestowed on Desmarais the grand-croix de la Légion d’honneur, France’s highest order. The ties run even wider: one of Sarkozy’s former close advisors, Eric Le Moyne de Sérigny, was once married to Desmarais daughter, Sophie. Today, de Sérigny is himself embroiled in the campaign financing scandal.
The Sarkozy-Desmarais relationship has had profound (if largely unspoken) consequences for Canadian unity. Under Sarkozy, France abondoned its policy of “non-interference, non-indifference” to become a wholehearted ally of a united Canada. It is widely believed that this is due in large part to Desmarais, a dedicated federalist and noted scourge of the Quebec separatists. (Some of the fringe elements of the movement often point out how, as a native of Sudbury, Ontario, Paul Desmarais isn’t a true Québécois.) “Indeed, I love your coutnry. I love Canada’s beauty and the warmth and the generosity of its people,”Sarkozy told CanWest News in 2008. (http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/story.html?id=edcc85ff-8928-43d6-8642-f591e022d916)
It remains unclear how long Sarkozy will stay in Morin Heights, though if their relationship is any indication the ex-French president can count on the Desmarais clan for comfort and security, no matter what fate awaits him in Paris.

Magda Hassan
07-04-2012, 02:52 AM
Meet Canada’s Ruling Oligarchy: Parasites-a-Plenty!POSTED BY ANDREW GAVIN MARSHALL (http://andrewgavinmarshall.com/author/andrewgavinmarshall/) ⋅ MAY 10, 2012 ⋅
Meet Canada’s Ruling Oligarchy: Parasites-a-Plenty!Class War and the College Crisis, Part 7By: Andrew Gavin Marshall
http://andrewgavinmarshall.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/desmarais-sarkozy-photo.jpg?w=750 (http://andrewgavinmarshall.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/desmarais-sarkozy-photo.jpg)Paul Desmarais Sr. (left), Nicolas Sarkozy (centre), and Quebec Premier Jean Charest (right)

Part 1: The “Crisis of Democracy” and the Attack on Education (http://andrewgavinmarshall.com/2012/04/02/class-war-and-the-college-crisis-the-crisis-of-democracy-and-the-attack-on-education/)Part 2: The Purpose of Education: Social Uplift or Social Control? (http://andrewgavinmarshall.com/2012/04/08/the-purpose-of-education-social-uplift-or-social-control/)Part 3: Of Prophets, Power, and the Purpose of Intellectuals (http://andrewgavinmarshall.com/2012/04/13/571/)Part 4: Student Strikes, Debt Domination, and Class War in Canada (http://andrewgavinmarshall.com/2012/04/17/student-strikes-debt-domination-and-class-war-in-canada-class-war-and-the-college-crisis-part-4/)Part 5: Canada’s Economic Collapse and Social Crisis (http://andrewgavinmarshall.com/2012/04/24/canadas-economic-collapse-and-social-crisis-class-war-and-the-college-crisis-part-5/)Part 6: The Québec Student Strike: From ‘Maple Spring’ to Summer Rebellion? (http://andrewgavinmarshall.com/2012/04/30/the-quebec-student-strike-from-maple-spring-to-summer-rebellion/)As hundreds of thousands of students in the province of Québec continue to strike into their 13th week against tuition increases, as the provincial government continues to employ legal repression and state violence against the youth, as Canadian families are over $100,000 in debt, as a looming housing crisis begins to rear its ugly head, as youth unemployment increases, student debt explodes, jobs vanish, poverty deepens, and oppression increases, it’s time to meet those responsible, those who are doing better than ever, those who are making record profits, sitting comfortably in their estates which are larger than the entire island of Manhattan, who travel by helicopter and private jet, who co-mingle with the Rockefellers, Rothschilds, Spanish royalty, presidents and prime ministers at home and abroad: meet Canada’s ruling oligarchy.As this series, “Class War and the College Crisis,” is more focused on the issue of education, I will focus here on the composition of the oligarchy in terms of how they control our educational system. This part in the series will be part article and part research annex. First, I will introduce the reader to Canada’s most powerful family, our version of the Rockefeller’s south of the border, or the Rothschilds in Europe, and of course, all these families are close in both business and social circles. Such is the nature of being an elite in a globalized world. The Desmarais family, located in the province of Québec, are without question the most influential and powerful family in the country, and it’s no wonder, considering their power is vested in an investment company known as Power Corporation.Why is Power Corporation important?The name says it all: it has Power. Founded in 1925, Power Corporation of Canada is an investment company involved in communications, business, and especially finance. Power Corporation was founded by A.J. Nesbitt and P.A. Thomson, two partners in the Montreal investment firm, Nesbitt, Thomson and Company, who wanted to consolidate Canada’s power sector, and established Power Corporation as a ‘holding company,’ meaning, it owns other corporations. In the 1960s, the company began to invest in energy, finance, industry, and real estate. In 1968, financier Paul Desmarais took over the leadership of Power Corporation, and rapidly expanded the assets held by the company, including by the 1970s: Canada Steamship Lines (transportation); Consolidated Bathurst (pulp and paper); Investors Group, Great-West Life, Montreal Trust (financial services); and Gesca (communications). Power Corporation expanded across Canada, Europe, and into China. Paul Desmarais stepped aside as Chairman and CEO in 1996, though remaining as the controlling shareholder, and had his two sons, Paul Jr. and André, become Chairman and President and Co-CEOs. Power Corporation owns Gesca, a communications company which in turn owns La Presse as well as six other daily newspapers in Quebec.The Desmarais family, wrote Christa d’Souza for the London Telegraph, are “Canada’s equivalent of the Rockefellers or Vanderbilts.”[1] Indeed, it would appear that the Desmarais are very much akin to the Rockefellers, the most powerful family in the United States, and one of the most powerful families in the world (perhaps only challenged by the older European-based Rothschild banking family). The Rockefeller family developed the Standard Oil empire, which branched off into several different oil companies, including Exxon and Chevron; founded the Rockefeller Foundation as an engine of social engineering, founded the University of Chicago, became a dominant force in global banking (through Citibank and JP Morgan Chase), highly influential in politics (Vice President Nelson Rockefeller and Senator Jay Rockefeller), and of course, remain a dominant influence in think tanks, such as the Council on Foreign Relations, the Bilderberg Group, and the Trilateral Commission, which ultimately play a major role in shaping policies of industrial nations.The Desmarais family, while not as powerful in a global sense as the Rockefellers, have nevertheless made themselves a powerful name in the global oligarchy, and most certainly the most powerful family in Canada. Paul Desmarais Sr. is one of Canada’s richest individuals, which is, of course, no surprise, and as Konrad Yakabuski wrote for the Globe and Mail, “Desmarais has been personally consulted by prime ministers on every major federal economic and constitutional initiative since the 1970s. Most of the time, they’ve taken his advice.” Power Corporation has taken large stakes in major European companies such as Bertelsmann, Total and Suez. Peter Munk, a friend of Paul Desmarais and the CEO of Barrick Gold Corporation (a major mining company profiting off of genocide in the Congo), said that, “Paul built that business with an enormous capability for networking that no one in Canadian history has ever matched. And the boys got introduced to his contacts. They were educated well, they married well. And they’ve behaved.” In the mid-1960s, a protégé of Desmarais was a young Montreal lawyer named Brian Mulroney, who would later become Canada’s Prime Minister. Paul Sr. groomed his sons, and especially André, who is now perhaps the most well-known Canadian businessman in China. André also married the daughter of another Canadian Prime Minister, Jean Chrétien. Desmarais Sr. also got involved in French banking through Paribas, and later, Pargesa, which handled investments in a wide range of European corporations, and shot Desmarais into the accepted ranks of French nobility and the old-monied European elite. Paul Desmarais Jr. is close friends with the recent French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and socializes with Spanish royalty, the Rothschilds, and other European oligarchs.[2]The Desmarais family have strong connections to Canada’s four major political parties: the Liberals, Conservatives, Bloc Quebecois, and the NDP. This has included close ties to Lucien Bouchard, former leader of the Parti Québecois and Premier of Quebec, Jean Chrétien, former Canadian Prime Minister; Brian Mulroney, former Canadian Prime Minister who worked for Power Corporation; Bob Rae, an NDP leader, and Paul Martin, another Liberal Prime Minister who worked for Power Corporation. When André Pratte, the chief editorialist of the Desmerais-owned paper La Presse, wrote in 1994 that, “Power Corp. controls everything, everyone knows that. Chrétien, [then Quebec premier Daniel] Johnson, it’s Power Corp,” Paul Desmarais Sr. intervened directly with the paper to ensure that Pratte was demoted. Claude Masson, the deputy publisher of La Presse at the time, stated that, “When you bite the hand that feeds you, there are consequences.”[3] Indeed, the hand bites back.The Desmarais’ also have close connections with James Wolfensohn, the former President of the World Bank, who has extensive ties to the Rockefeller family. Paul Jr. married Hélene Blouin, the “founder and CEO of le Centre d’entreprises et d’innovation de Montréal, an incubator for tech businesses; a director of the Montreal Board of Trade; chairman of HEC Montréal; and a co-founder of the Montreal Economic Institute, a think tank that has become Quebec’s leading policy advocate on the non-partisan right.” André married France Chrétien, daughter of Jean Chrétien, and he even served as a press secretary to Jean Chrétien while he was Minister of Justice in the Pierre Trudeau government. In the 1990s, the international advisory board of Power Corporation included former Prime Ministers Brian Mulroney and Pierre Trudeau. Brian Mulroney was sure to create friendly ties between the Desmarais family and soon-to-be Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who put two Desmarais-connected politicians in his cabinet, Peter Mackay and Maxime Bernier.[4]Quebec author Robin Philpot wrote a scathing critique of the power of the Desmarais family several years ago, suggesting that, “Over the last several years, [Paul Desmarais Sr.] has spun his web to such an extent that it now enables him to call the shots,” especially in promoting his right-wing economic vision, with “a disproportionate influence on politics and the economy in Quebec and Canada.” Of course, it’s not only Canadian politicians with whom Desmarais is close, but French and American politicians as well, including Sarkozy, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton. Desmarais owns seven of the ten French-language newspapers in Quebec, and has been close to nearly every Quebec premier, apart from Parti Québécois leaders Jacques Parizeau and Bernard Landry. Philpot alleged that Desmarais “has a lot of influence on Premier Jean Charest,” who is the current premier imposing tuition increases. When Desmarais received the French Légion d’honneur (Legion of Honour) from Nicolas Sarkozy, Jean Charest was in attendance, of which Philpot stated, “He took him along like a poodle.” Philpot added, “It’s a very unhealthy situation for a government to be indebted to a businessman that has his own interest at heart. They get their hands tied.”[5]Jean-François Lisée, the director of the Center for International Studies and Research at the University of Montreal stated that, “They are in a class all by themselves… There’s the Desmaraises, then there’s everyone else.” However, as one man close to the family said, in regards to their influence in politics, “We live in a village in Canada, and there are a lot of circumstances which come together which make it appear as if there’s some great manipulation… These are the coincidences of life. It might be more notorious than substantial.”[6] Indeed, the elite live in “a village,” and that’s the whole point, which is, I might add, “substantial.”In rural Quebec, the Desmarais family has an estate the size of Manhattan, with a private golf course and pheasant shooting range, as well as a music pavilion where opera is performed. This is the home of Paul Desmarais Sr. Guests, such as former U.S. Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, come play golf on this vast estate, and are flown in on helicopters belonging either to Power Corporation or Desmarais personally. As one of Canada’s richest billionaires, this is a simple matter. Power Corporation, which owns a controlling share in Power Financial Corporation, an insurance giant, has established ties with one of Belgium’s richest men, Albert Frere, with whom they have been in business for decades, and together hold significant shares of Total SA (the third largest oil company in Europe), Lafarge SA (the world’s largest cement maker), and GDF Suez SA (the world’s second largest utility company).[7]The Desmarais family has even had the internationally renowned Cirque du Soleil perform on their massive 15,000-acre estate. King Juan Carlos of Spain has even been a guest from time to time. André Desmarais is himself a member of the Trilateral Commission, founded by David Rockefeller, and is also on the International Advisory Board of David Rockefeller’s former bank, JP Morgan Chase, alongside other notables such as former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Both brothers have regularly attended meetings of the Bilderberg Group, of which David Rockefeller is a top official (founded in 1954 as an elite think tank linking Western Europe and North America). The Desmarais also hold a major international meeting of elites in Montreal every year, the Conference de Montreal, drawing in thousands of top policy-makers, industrialists, bankers, strategists, and international elites from the major nations of the world. A son of Paul Desmarais Jr., Paul Desmarais III, is a banker with Goldman Sachs. At times, the influence of the family is shyly acknowledged. As French President Sarkozy stated upon awarding Paul Desmarais Sr. with the French Legion of Honour, “If I am the president of France today, it is thanks in part to the advice, the friendship and the loyalty of Paul Desmarais.”[8]So while Quebec students are being asked to pay double their current tuition to reduce public spending, the Desmarais family is hob-nobbing around with a top public-sector individual responsible for investing $150 billion in Quebecers’ public-sector pension and insurance plans, Michael Sabia. Though apparently a weekend stay at the Desmarais estate by Sabia did not involve business discussions, it was merely “friendly.” No doubt. Meanwhile, Power Financial profits rose 37% in March of 2012, earning the company $533 million, while Power Corporation itself earned $314 million in the same amount of time, with its profits also increasing by 37%.[9]The Canadian Oligarchy Assaults DemocracyIn the 1970s, just as the United States elite were organizing for their assault on the democratic advances brought about by the activism and popular mobilizations of the 1960s, so too was Canada. With the Powell Memo and the Trilateral Commission’s “Crisis of Democracy” report in the early and mid 1970s, we saw the emergence of a vast array of right-wing pro-business think tanks which sought to – and successfully did – promote neoliberalism and thus, created enormous repercussions for universities and education. Canada was not to be left behind in the elitist assault on democracy.As William Carroll and Murray Shaw wrote in the journal Canadian Public Policy: “Integral to the rise and consolidation of neoliberal hegemony were the emergence of new centres of class-wide business activism and the retooling of established policy institutes along neoliberal lines.” A few major think tanks and policy institutes were integral to this approach for Canada. The Conference Board of Canada was founded in 1954 when the New York Conference Board opened an office in Montreal, later moved to Ottawa, and now one of the largest think tanks in Canada, linking academia, government and corporate elites. The Private Planning Association of Canada (PPAC) was founded in 1958 by members of the Canadian American Committee (CAC), “a group of business and labour leaders from Canada and the US” who were seeking closer and deeper ties between Canada and the United States, specifically in relation to trade. When the PPAC merged with the C.D. Howe Memorial Foundation in 1973, the C.D. Howe Institute was formed. The C.D. Howe Institute became a major force pushing for free trade agreements such as NAFTA, and by the mid-1990s, was portraying social programs as a major source of Canada’s economic problems.[10]The Business Council on National Issues (BCNI) – now known as the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE) – was founded to create consensus on policy issues among Canada’s top 150 CEOs, making it less of a think tank, and more of a “shadow government.” Founded in 1976 in order to bring together the corporate elite of Canada into forming a more long-term strategic position with the government, directly lobbying the state. The mandate of the Council is “to ensure that Canadian chief executives play an influential role in the international financial, trade, investment, environmental and foreign affairs domains.” Since the era of the Trudeau Liberals, politicians have come and gone from power, but the Council, “the voice and organizational embodiment of corporate rule, is a permanent presence.” Another major player is the Fraser Institute (FI), dedicated to mythical “free market” policies and neoliberalism, founded in 1973 with money from fifteen different mining executives, and is essentially a replica of the American Enterprise Institute in the United States. The Fraser Institute is perhaps the most quoted institution in the Canadian media, ensuring that its neoliberal ideology is firmly entrenched in popular ‘information’ (i.e., propaganda). One study from 1998 showed that over the course of a year, the left-wing think tank, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives was quoted in business news stories 16 times, while the Fraser Institute was quoted in over 140 stories.[11]Today, Hélène Desmarais, wife of Paul Desmarais Jr., is on the board of the C.D. Howe Institute, alongside top officials from GE Canada, Manulife Canada, HSBC Canada, Enbridge, Barrick Gold, BMO Financial Group, and a number of other top financial and industrial corporations. Power Corporation is listed among the C.D. Howe Institute’s supporters, alongside other notable entities such as: Astral Media (a major media conglomerate), Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barrick Gold Corporation, BMO Financial Group, Bombardier, Canadian Bankers Association, Canadian Chamber of Commerce, CIBC, Canadian Pacific Railway, Canadian Oil Sands Limited, Cargill Limited, CN, Deloitte & Touche LLP, Desjardins Group, Deutsche Bank, Enbridge, Encana, Ford Motor Company, HSBC, Google, Imperial Tobacco, JP Morgan, National Bank of Canada, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, RBC Financial Group, Rio Tinto Alcan, Scotiabank, Shell Canada, SNC Lavalin, Standard Life Financial, Swiss Bankers Association, TD Bank Group, and many others. The C.D. Howe Institute also gets a good deal of financial support from several Canadian universities, including Carelton, HEC Montréal, Laval, McMaster, Queen’s, Ryerson, Calgary, Lethbridge, Western Ontario, Université de Sherbrooke, U. of Alberta, UBC, Ottawa, Saskatchewan, U of T, and Wilfred Laurier University.[12]Looking at PowerThe board of directors of Power Corporation includes: Pierre Beaudoin, President and CEO of Bombardier; Marcel R. Coutu, President and CEO of Canadian Oil Sands Limited and Chairman of Syncrude Canada, director of Great-West Lifeco (owned by Power Corporation), and is a member of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives; Laurent Dassault, Vice President of Groupe Industriel Marcel Dassault (a Paris-based investment and financing company), and a director of a number of European companies, including SITA, Generali France, Kudelski, and the Banque Privée Edmond de Rothschild Europe (a major banking house owned by the Rothschild family); Guy Fortin, Vice Chairman of Sanpalo Investments, former senior partner at Ogilvy Renault, Chairman of the Canadian Tax Foundation; Anthony R. Graham, President of Wittington Investments, formerly with National Bank Financial Inc., Chairman of President’s Choice Bank, on the board of Power Financial, Loblaw Companies, George Weston Limited, Brown Thomas Group Ltd, Holt Renfrew & Co., the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, Council for Business and the Arts in Canada, and is a member of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives; Robert Gratton, former Chairman and CEO of Montreal Trust, director of Power Financial, member of the Harvard Business School Canadian Advisory Board, the Conference Board of Canada, the C.D. Howe Institute, and the Trilateral Commission; Isabelle Marcoux, Vice Chair of the board of Transcontinental Inc., on the boards of George Weston Ltd., Rogers Communications, the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal; Donald Mazankowski, director of Power Financial, former member of the Canadian House of Commons and member of Parliament for 25 years, former Canadian Minister of Transport, Deputy Prime Minister, President of the Queen’s Privy Council, and Government House Leader, and is a former member of the board of governors of the University of Alberta.Other board members include: Raymond L. McFeetors, Vice Chairman of Power Financial and Chairman of Great-West Lifeco, a director of London Life, Canada Life Financial, Canada Life, Crown Life, IGM Financial, Investors Group, Mackenzie Financial, Putnam Investments; Jerry E. A. Nickerson, Chairman of Nickerson & Sons Ltd., director of several Power Corporation companies, honorary director of the Bank of Montreal; James R. Nininger, on the Board of Management of the Canada Revenue Agency (responsible for administering the tax laws of Canada and most of the provinces), on the board of Canadian Pacific Railway, former President and CEO of The Conference Board of Canada (a major research institute/think tank); R. Jeffrey Orr, President and CEO of Power Financial, a board member of several Power group subsidiaries, former Chairman and CEO of BMO Nesbitt Burns and Vice Chairman of the Bank of Montreal’s Investment Banking Group, and is a member of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives; Robert Parizeau, Chairman of Aon Parizeau, Inc., director of National Bank Life Insurance Company, former Chairman of Gaz Métro, former director of Van Houtte, and director of the National Bank of Canada for over 20 years, and is a director of the Institute of Corporate Directors; Michel Plessis-Bélair, Vice Chairman of Power Corporation, director of several Power group subsidiaries, and a director of Lallemand Inc., Université de Montréal, Hydro-Québec, and is a member of the International Advisory Board of École des hautes etudes commerciales (HEC) of Montréal (Business School of Montreal); John A. Rae, director of a number of Power subsidiaries, a director of Fednav Ltd, BNP Paribas (Canada), McGill University Health Centre Foundation, former Executive Assistant to Jean Chrétien, National Campaign Chairman for Jean Chrétien’s 1984 and 1990 leadership campaigns, and Coordinator of the National Campaign of the Liberal Party of Canada for the 1993, 1997, and 2000 elections, and is also Chair Emeritus of the Board of Trustees of Queen’s University; Henri-Paul Rousseau, a director of several Power group subsidiaries, board member of the Global Financial Markets Association, former President and CEO of the Caisse de depot et placement du Québec (which manages public pensions for the province of Quebec), former President and CEO of the Laurentian Bank of Canada, former CEO of Boréal Assurances Inc., and former Senior VP of the National Bank of Canada; T. Timothy Ryan, Jr., President and CEO of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), the leading trade association representing global financial market participants, CEO of the Global Financial Markets Association (GFMA), a director of a number of Power subsidiaries, as well as a director of Lloyds Banking Group, Lloyds TSB Bank, HBOS, the Bank of Scotland, and the United States-Japan Foundation, formerly a top official with J.P. Morgan, is a private sector member of the Global Markets Advisory Committee for the U.S. National Intelligence Council (NIC), the Council which oversees all sixteen U.S. intelligence agencies; and Emoke J.E. Szathmary, President Emeritus of the University of Manitoba, former President and Vice Chancellor of the University of Manitoba, Provost and Vice President of McMaster University, and former Dean of the Faculty of Social Science of the University of Western Ontario, is currently a director of a number of Power subsidiaries, and is a director of the International Institute for Sustainable Development, the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, and the Board of Governors of McMaster University.And of course, we have the Desmarais family themselves, including Paul Desmarais Sr., Paul Desmarais Jr., who is not only a director of several Power subsidiaries, but is Vice Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of Pargesa, a director of Group Bruxelles Lambert, GDF Suez, Total, Lafarge, and is a member of the European Institute of Business Administration, Chairman of the Board of Governors of the International Economic Forum of the Americas, a trustee and Co-Chair of the International Advisory Council of the Brookings Institute, founder and member of the International Advisory Board of the McGill University Faculty of Management in Montreal, and the founder and member of the International Advisory Committee of HEC (business school) in Montreal. André Desmarais is not only on several Power subsidiaries, former Special Assistant to the Minister of Justice of Canada, a director of Pargesa in Europe, CITIC Pacific Ltd. in China, is a member of the Chairman’s International Advisory Council of the Americas Society (founded by David Rockefeller), and is Honorary Chairman of the Canada China Business Council.As for Power Financial, while there is a great deal of overlap between the two boards, there are some unique names on the board of Power Financial. Among these are J. Brian Aune, President of Aldervest Inc., former Chairman of St. James Financial Corporation, is Governor Emeritus of Concordia University; V. Peter Harder, President of the Canada China Business Council, former Canadian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, former Deputy Minister of the Treasury Board, Solicitor General, Citizenship and Immigration, and Industry Canada, and is a director of IGM Financial, TimberWest, Telesat Canada, Energizer Resources, Northland Power, Pinetree Capital Ltd, and is an independent advisor to the Auditor General of Canada.The Oligarchy of EducationCanada’s universities, like all universities, are governed by bankers and corporate executives, foundation officials, and think tank presidents, media moguls and millionaires. Given the current situation in Quebec, where hundreds of thousands of students have been taking to the streets in a strike against tuition increases, with over 200 protests in Montreal over the past three months alone, I will focus here on the two major English-speaking universities in the province: Concordia and McGill. This is important to focus on, simply because throughout this crisis, the university administrations have been claiming to be “neutral,” though they have actively set themselves against the students, filing legal injunctions against picketing, hiring private security firms to patrol the schools, and even calling in riot police to disperse striking youth. The schools have claimed to be neutral on the issue of tuition increases, though they have not – in any way – applied pressure or lobbying efforts on the government to reverse its position. In fact, it has been the exact opposite. When we look at who actually sits on the boards of the school administrations, it becomes clear that these are the very same elite who, in their various other social positions, lobby the government to increase the tuition, who sit on the boards of the banks that hand out student loans and charge exorbitant interest rates, who profit off the debt and poverty of the masses.So let’s start with my own school: Concordia University.The Chancellor of Concordia is L. Jacques Ménard, the President of BMO Financial Group, one of Canada’s largest banks, a director of Claridge Inc., and a director of the Institute for Research on Public Policy (a think tank promoting elite interests). The Chairman of the Board of Governors of Concordia is Peter Kruyt, President and CEO of Victoria Square Ventures, a director of La Presse (the largest French-language newspaper in Quebec), a director of Picchio Pharma Inc., a director of CITIC Pacific Ltd., Chairman of the Canada China Business Council, and a Vice President of Power Corporation, a company he has been working for since 1980 when he was Executive Assistant to the CEO, Paul Desmarais.Norman Hébert, Jr.: CEO of Group Park Avenue Inc., former board member of Hyrdo-Québec, Chairman of the Board of Société des Alcools du Québec (SAQ, a provincial crown corporation which sells liquor).Hélène F. Fortin: a director of Larose Fortin CA Inc., member of the Institute of Corporate Directors, former Assistant to the Vice President of Quebecor Inc. (a major media conglomerate), and a former director of CBC and Hydro-Québec.Brian Edwards: founder of BCE Emergis, one of North America’s largest electronic commerce companies, Chairman of the Board of Miranda Technologies and Biotonix 2010 Inc., and is on the boards of Camoplast Inc. and Impath Networks Canada Corporation, and Transat AT.Jean Pierre Desrosiers: on the boards of KPGM, Aéroports de Montréal and D-BOX Technologies Inc.Rita Lc de Santis: a partner at Davies, Ward, Phillips & Vineberg, former member of The Italian Chamber of Commerce in Canada, Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montréal, Business Development Bank of Canada and Hydro-Québec.James Cherry: President and CEO of Aéroports de Montréal, former executive with Bombardier, Oerlikon Aerospace Inc., CAE Inc. and ALSTOM Canada Inc.Baljit Singh Chadha: Director of the Canada-India Business Council, Pesident and founder of Balcorp Ltd.Charles Cavell: former President and CEO of Quebecor World Inc., former Chairman of the Board of Sun Media Corp, a director of Adaltis Inc., Novelis Inc.Tim Brodhead: former President and CEO of the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, former Executive Director of the Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC), past chair of Philanthropic Foundations Canada.Joelle Berdugo Adler: founder of ONEXEONE, and CEO of Diesel Canada.Jonathan Wener: President and CEO of Canderal (a major real estate investment company), a trustee of the Fraser Institute, member of the board of the Laurentian bank of Canada, Silanis Technologies, and former president of the Urban Development Institute of Canada.Annie Tobias: former official at Deloitte & ToucheMichael Novak: Executive Vice President of SNC-Lavalin Group, a global engineering and defense contractor.Marie-José Nadeau: Executive Vice President of Hydro-Québec, Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs and General Secretary at Cascades Fine Papers Group Inc, and is a director of Metro.Andrew T. Molson: Chairman of the Board of Molson Coors Brewing Company, is a partner and chairman of RES PUBLICA Consulting Group, a Montreal-based holding and management company, is Chairman of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal and a director of The Montreal Canadiens, DundeeWealth Inc., Groupe Deschênes Inc. and Montréal International, and is president of the Molson Foundation.Tony Meti: President of G.D.N.P. Consulting Services, Inc., a former Senior Vice President at National Bank Financial Group, a director of ADF Group, Saputo Inc.Jacques Lyrette: Executive at Innovative Materials Technologies, former CEO of ADGA Inc., an engineering consulting company.Arvind K. Joshi: CEO at St. Mary’s Hospital Center, member of the advisory board of the John Molson School of Business at Concordia University.Suzanne Gouin: President and Chief Executive Officer, TV5 Québec Canada, former director of Hydro-Québec.McGill University:H. Arnold Steinberg: Chancellor of McGill University, formerly worked for Dominion Securities (now RBC – Royal Bank of Canada – Dominion Securities), has been a member of the boards of Bell Canada, Teleglobe, Provigo, National Bank of Canada.Heather Munroe-Blum: Principal and Vice Chancellor of McGill, is on the board of the Internationalization Committee, and the Membership Committee of the Association of American Universities, a member of the Science, Technology and Innovation Council (STIC) of Canada, the U.S. National Research Council’s Committee on Research Universities, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Trilateral Commission, and is co-chair of the Private Sector Advisory Committee of the Ontario-Quebec Trade and Co-operation Agreement, on the boards of the Trudeau Foundation, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), Conférence de Montréal, and the Royal Bank of Canada. She has served on the boards of the Conference Board of Canada, Montreal Chamber of Commerce, Four Seasons Hotel, and Hydro One.Stuart Cobbett: Managing Partner and Chief Operating Officer of Stikeman Elliott LLP, and is a Director of Citibank Canada.Lili de Grandpré: founder of an organization strategy consulting firm, CenCEO Consulting, formerly with the Mercer Consulting Group and Bank of Montreal.Michael Boychuk: President and CEO of Bimcor Inc., and is a member of the advisory board of Centennial Ventures, a U.S. private equity firm, former Senior Vice President and Treasurer of BCE Inc. and Bell Canada.Gerald Butts: President and CEO of WWF-Canada.Daniel Gagnier: former Chief of Staff to Quebec Premier Jean Charest, former VP at Alcan, former Chairman of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, current chairman of the International Institute for Sustainable Development, and a board member of the Asia-Pacific Foundation.Banking on PowerIn Canada, there are five major banks which dominate the national banking sector (and together wield enormous influence over Canada’s monetary system through the Bank of Canada). These banks are the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), the Bank of Montreal (BMO), Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD), the Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank), and the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC). To understand how these banks wield influence over Canada as a whole, it would be useful to examine the boards of directors of the banks, drawing the overlap of leadership between the ‘Big Five’ and Canada’s major corporations, think tanks, foundations, media and educational institutions. For the purpose of this report, I will simply take a look at the board of directors of the biggest bank: Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), and show how it overlaps with the other institutions which dominate our society.W. Geoffrey Beattie: on the board of directors of General Electric (GE), President of the Woodbridge Company, a privately held investment holding company (the majority shareholder of Thomson Reuters, a major media conglomerate of which he is Deputy Chairman), and he is also a board member of Maple Leaf Foods Inc. and Chairman of CTV Globemedia, a major Canadian media conglomerate.Richard L. George: President and CEO of Suncor Energy, on the board of the Canadian Pacific Railway, former Chairman and current board member of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE), was a member of the North American Competitiveness Council (NACC), which was formed in 2006 to advise North American governments on the process of ‘North American integration’.Paule Gautier: the first woman president of the Canadian Bar Association, on the boards of Metro Inc., TransCanada Corporation, and Transcanada Pipelines, an associate member of the American Bar Association, and is on the board of CARE, a supposed “humanitarian” organization, and she was a former director of the Institut Québecois des Hautes Études Internationales at Laval University.Timothy J. Hearn: former CEO of Imperial Oil Limited, former chairman of the C.D. Howe Institute (a major pro-business think tank) where he remains as a board member, former member of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE), is co-chair of a fundraising campaign for the University of Alberta and is chair of the fundraising campaign for Tyndale University, and is on the Advisory Board of the Public Policy School at the University of Calgary, a director of Viterra Inc., and is Chair of the board of directors of the Calgary Homeless Foundation.Alice D. Laberge: former CEO of Fincentric, a current Commissioner of the Financial Institutions Commission, on the board of the Minerva Foundation, and a member of the Financial Executives Institute, and a former director of BC Hydro and Power Authority, and is on the board of directors of the University of British Columbia (UBC).Jacques Lamarre: former President and CEO of SNC-Lavalin, a major global engineering, construction, and military contractor; is on the board of Suncor Energy, the founding member and former Chair of the Commonwealth Business Council, former Chairman of the board of directors of the Conference Board of Canada, a leader at the World Economic Forum, a former director of Canadian Pacific Railway, a member of the C.D. Howe Institute’s British North American Committee.Brandt C. Louie: Chairman and CEO of H.Y. Louie Co. Limited, a food retail distribution company, Chairman of London Drugs Limited, Vice Chairman of IGA Canada Ltd., former Chancellor of Simon Fraser University (SFU), Governor of the Vancouver Board of Trade, Governor of the British Columbia Business Council, a member of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE), and is a member of the Dean’s Council of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and is a current director of the Gairdner Foundation. He is also a board member of the World Economic Forum, Grosvenor (a property company), and the Fraser Institute, a major right-wing pro-business think tank.Michael H. McCain: President and CEO of Maple Leaf Foods Inc., Chairman of the Canada Bread Company, board member at the American Meat Institute, the Richard Ivey School of Business Advisory Board, a member of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE), and a former director of Bombardier Inc.Heather Munroe-Blum: the Principal and Vice Chancellor of McGill University, board member of the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board, a member of the Trilateral Commission, has attended meetings of the Bilderberg Group, is co-chair of the Private Sector Advisory Committee of the Ontario-Quebec Trade and Co-operation Agreement, on the board of the Trudeau Foundation, and is on the board of the Conférence de Montréal (the International Economic Forum of the Americas), which is chaired by Paul Desmarais Jr.; and she has also been on the boards of the Conference Board of Canada, Montreal Chamber of Commerce, Four Seasons Hotel, and Hydro One.Gordon Nixon: President and CEO of the Royal Bank of Canada, a director and past Chairman of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE), on the board of directors of the International Monetary Conference, and has been on the boards of Daimler/Chrysler, Catalyst, EnCana Corporation, and Queen’s University School of Business; is a director of the Institute of International Finance and has attended Bilderberg Group meetings.David P. O’Brien: Chairman of the Board of the Royal Bank of Canada, Chairman of EnCana Corporation, a director of Enerplus Corporation, Molson Coors Brewing Company, and TransCanada Corporation; he is also the Chancellor of Concordia University, and is on the board of the C.D. Howe Institute. He was the former Chairman and CEO of Canadian Pacific Limited.J. Pedro Reinhard: a director of the Colgate-Palmolive Company, a director of Sigma-Aldrich Corporation, a chemical company; former Executive Vice President and Dow Chemical Company, is a former board member of the Coca-Cola Company, and is President of Reinhard & Associates, a financial advisory practice.Edward Sonshine: was President, CEO and a director of RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust, Chairman and a director of Chesswood Income Fund, and is Vice Chairman and a director of Mount Sinai Hospital.Kathleen P. Taylor: President of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, is a director of The Hospital for Sick Children Foundation, a cabinet member of the United Way of Greater Toronto and a member of the Industry Real Estate Financing Advisory Council of the American Hotel and Motel Association and the International Advisory Council of the Schulich School of Business of York University.Bridget A. van Kralingen: Senior Vice President of IBM, and was Managing Partner of Deloitte Consulting, and is a member of the board of advisors at Catalyst Inc.Victor L. Young: a director of Imperial Oil Ltd., former Chairman and CEO of Fishery Products International Limited, and is a current board member of McCain Foods, former Chairman and CEO of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, and was a director at BCE Inc. (Bell Canada).Our Parasitic EliteCanada’s elite, like all elites, are parasitic to the social good and wellbeing of the people. They own the banks and financial institutions, own our central bank which sets the interest rates, gives loans and collect on debt, pushing people deeper into servitude and slavery; poverty as punishment. They control our media, which shapes our views and ‘opinions,’ they sit on the boards of our universities, putting future generations into debt before they have a chance at life, and control the ‘knowledge economy’ for which they have defined the purpose of education. They influence and control our governments and political leaders, sit on the boards of the think tanks that write policy and promote political agendas, they run the foundations and claim themselves to be benevolent philanthropists, when philanthropy is at best, moral masturbation for the wealthy, a way to feel good about their vast disparity of wealth, and at its more organized levels, is simply a means through which to engage in social engineering and social control: to give a little in order to continue taking so much. The profit off of the foreign wars our country wages and supports, blood plunderers of the Congo, Afghanistan, and Libya. The Canadian elite rule the country as a proxy for the American Empire, acting as a resource suction-cup for the behemoth below us, providing the United States with most of its oil, water, electricity, and timber. These rapacious parasites claim they hold the answers to the crises they cause and profit from; a super-class which can only be understood as a sprawling, venomous, and vacuous social succubus.With a massive student movement in Quebec nearing its fourth month of strikes against tuition increases, the media has set against them in a massive propaganda campaign, the legal system has set against them in declaring injunctions against picketing students, the provincial state has dismissed, derided, and engaged in fallacious negotiations designed only to win public sympathy for the government, while the police have been incredibly oppressive against the youth: employing pepper spray, tear gas, smoke bombs, concussion grenades, beatings with batons, mass arrests, shooting students in the face with rubber bullets, and a disturbing trend of driving police cars and trucks into crowds of students. These are images you expect from a military dictatorship like Egypt, but not from a supposed “democracy” like Canada. In the midst of this social upheaval and state repression, the propaganda campaign against the students has been so successful that the majority of public opinion stands with the government and against the youth. Through every institution, and with every means made available, the elite have set themselves against the student movement. It is time the students and Canada at large recognize our elite for what they are: parasites!While this rhetoric is perhaps a little inflammatory, it remains apt. A parasite is much smaller than its host, and it benefits at the expense of the host, changing its behaviour and health. The word “parasite” comes from the Latin word parasitus which is itself derived from the Greek word, parasitos, meaning, “one who eats at the table of another.” The elite have been eating at our table for far too long. They have long over-stayed their welcome. It’s time to make it known that we have no patience or place for them at our table any longer. This will not be easy, this will not be simple; this will take a long time and a great deal of effort. But if we don’t start now, if we don’t begin to take and create a society of, by, and for the people (what was once referred to as ‘democracy’), then elite parasitism will continue to sap the strength, health, environment, wealth, and the very hope and lives of future generations. They will continue to spread like a social cancer until the host is dead.The youth are always told that the future is ours, but that remains up to us to make it so. The past and the present belong to the parasites, so if we do not stand up and struggle now and forever, we have no future to inherit, no world in which to grow and no hope in which to gaze. We have only debt bondage, state violence, table scraps, impoverishment, punishment, and oppression. The youth in Quebec are trying to just begin to stand up, to say ‘No More!’ and demand for themselves and others a chance at a future. The success of the strike is secondary to the newly-discovered strength of the students. They have been dismissed and derided, insulted and oppressed, from the left and the right, from so-called Progressives and self-congratulating Libertarians. Because the students do not articulate the same philosophy as those of other critics, they are presented as naïve and ‘entitled.’ Those who insult and deride without empathy or understanding only expose their own naivety.The fundamental and historical importance of the present situation in Québec is not the cost of tuition, it’s the mass mobilization of youth: it is an expression of a popular and growing dissatisfaction with the way things are and an articulation and drive to create something different, to chart a course for the way things can be. Those who fail to see and recognize that, fail to see the development of progress through history, not immediate, but evolving, not instant, but incremental and persistent. If nothing else, this generation can look back and say, “At least we tried. At least we started.”What will you look back and say?Andrew Gavin Marshall (http://www.andrewgavinmarshall.com/)is an independent researcher and writer based in Montreal, Canada, writing on a number of social, political, economic, and historical issues. He is also Project Manager of The People’s Book Project (http://www.thepeoplesbookproject.com/). He also hosts a weekly podcast show, “Empire, Power, and People,” on BoilingFrogsPost.com (http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/).
Notes[1] Christa d’Souza, The art of being Louise MacBain, The Telegraph, 26 June 2004:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/3619575/The-art-of-being-Louise-MacBain.html[2] Konrad Yakabuski, Like Father, like sons?, The Globe and Mail, 26 March 2006:http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/rob-magazine/like-father-like-sons/article170466/singlepage/#articlecontent[3] Ibid.[4] Ibid.[5] Marianne White, “Author delivers high-voltage critique of Paul Desmarais Sr. — the man behind Power Corp,” Ottawa Citizen, 21 October 2008:http://www2.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/story.html?id=2e3cff7f-05a2-44fc-afc1-616c5c40f64f[6] Ian Austen, “The Name Is ‘Power’ and It Fits,” The New York Times, 26 January 2007:http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/26/business/26fund.html?_r=1[7] Lisa Kassenaar, “Desmarais family keeps a low profile,” Edmonton Journal, 1 August 2009:http://www2.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/business/story.html?id=b40b4563-fe56-4612-920d-a66e9e7da838[8] Lisa Kassenaar, “Buffett Loses to Desmarais as Power Exceeds Return,” Bloomberg, 30 July 2009:http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aEl4wizkuSTQ[9] Christinne Muschi, “Great-West Lifeco helps boost profit at Power Financial,” Reuters, 14 March 2012:http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/great-west-lifeco-helps-boost-profit-at-power-financial/article2368991/print/Kevin Dougherty, “Sabia-Desmarais meeting was “friendly”, not lobbying, Caisse de dépôt says,” Montreal Gazette, 7 February 2012:http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Sabia+Desmarais+meeting+friendly+lobbying+Caisse+d %C3%A9p%C3%B4t+says/6116318/story.html[10] William K. Carroll and Murray Shaw, “Consolidating a Neoliberal Policy Bloc in Canada, 1976 to 1996,” Canadian Public Policy(Vol. 27, No. 2, June 2001), pages 196-200.[11] William K. Carroll and Murray Shaw, “Consolidating a Neoliberal Policy Bloc in Canada, 1976 to 1996,” Canadian Public Policy(Vol. 27, No. 2, June 2001), pages 200-202.[12] C.D. Howe Institute, Members and Supporters: http://www.cdhowe.org/members-and-supportershttp://andrewgavinmarshall.com/2012/05/10/meet-canadas-ruling-oligarchy-parasites-a-plenty/