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Québec’s 20 most trusted individuals: 6th and 7th positions [post 4 of 11] (#259)

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We have now finished the top 5 most trusted individuals in Québec, and we’ll begin to look at the remaining top 10 in this several-post series..

#6 Véronique Cloutier –

Véronique Cloutier was the subject of a previous post a long time ago.  If you wish to read up on that post, you can click HEREHowever, in this post, I will look at why I think she is one of the most trusted names in Québec.

Cloutier (simply known as Véro to most Francophones in Canada) has been on our television screens since she was 19 years old (she is now 40).   She resonates with anyone 50 and younger owing to the fact that she has been central to our pop-culture for much of our lives (I think I can vaguely recall watching her during her first year on television in 1993, and I definitely have many memories of watching her on TV in the mid 1990s).

For under 40s, she made her début into our lives as host on the TV music station MusiquePlus in the early & mid-1990s (the French language counterpart to Much Music).  You have to keep in mind that the internet did not exist at that period, and most of us turned to MusiquePlus for our dose of the latest music videos.   There was very much a bonding factor through her music programs which still endures for many people entering middle-age today.

Later in the 90s, he career took off on various programs on Radio-Canada, some of which have had the highest Francophone viewer numbers (and overall Canadian viewership numbers) in history.  She has become one of the most known people in Montréwood culture (perhaps one of the top five best known Montréwood personalities).

Apart from her constant presence in our pop-culture lives, there are probably two other factors why people feel they know her, can relate to her, and can empathize with her — all which are factors which have earned the public’s trust.

  • On a very sensitive note (and without going into too many details out of respect for those involved), her father was convicted of pedophilia and was sentenced to prison a number of years ago. Her father was a well-known celebrity figure himself, and the case involved other well-known celebrities.   It was an extremely difficult period in Cloutier’s life.  It was also a painfully public part of her life which I am sure she wishes was much more private (the Paparazzi and press covered the story extensively).   Yet, she stood there in great pain, in front of all of us on television, as she tried to survive this period in her life.  The way she handled it, her integrity and her strength gained her the respect and the admiration of a people.   She has become bigger than life in Québec.
  • She married her long-time boyfriend, Louis Morissette, and they have since had a family. Morissette is one of Québec’s most successful stand-up and television comedians.  Together they have children and they form the Brangelina couple of Montréwood.   The joined forced and now work together as a “working couple”.  This new dynamic faced a number of hurdles when they were criticized for taking their comedy act to far, and when Morissette was “banished” from Québecor/TVA for making fun of Pierre Karl Péladeau in a skit over a decade ago (PKP is still taking a rap over such a terrible judgement call now that he is a politician).   But Cloutier and Morissette faced and overcame these hurdles with integrity – again gaining the people’s trust for their strength of character.

I am not at all surprised that Véronique Cloutier is ranked in the #6 place.  I perhaps may have even ranked her a notch or two higher.

#7 France Charbonneau –

France Charbonneau is a real-life Judge Judy for many in Québec.

Owing to an online investigation by the Radio-Canada program Enquête (sort of like the CBc’s 5th Estate, or CTV’s W5), it came to light that there were severe amounts of illegal collusion by major construction companies in the bidding process for provincial government contracts.   There had been musings for years that Québec was the most corrupt province in Canada (remember the infamous McLean’s front-page article a number of years ago?).  But many people refused to accept it until Enquête finally took all the evidence to task (during the publication of the L’Actualité article in 2010 many Québec politicians denied it, especially those in the PQ — I still vividly remember the former PQ premier, Bernard Landry yelling, ranting and raving that L’Acutalité was biased because Québec had no corruption.

After extreme political pressure (which was in part responsible for the downfall of the Liberal Charest government in 2012), a government inquiry was called to look into the affair.  It was called the Charbonneau Commission.  I has lasted for two years, and it is still not finished.

Every day, for the better part of more than year, the commission President (AKA Judge), France Charbonneau, appeared on our television screens on the 24 hour news network, RDI.  We all became used to seeing her grill witnesses, lecture witnesses, and form her views on witness statements live on TV, three or four hours every day, day after day.

By way of subpoena, she took politicians to task, she took business people to task, and she took other people to task who the public never thought they would see put on “trial”, let alone see it all happen before their eyes.  Even though the Commission was not a court of law, it sure felt like it was.

France Charbonneau may have single-handedly turned Québec from being the most corrupt province in Canada to being one of the cleanest in Canada – all within a couple of years.   That’s quite a feat by any measure!

In addition to her role as the President of the Charbonneau Commission, she is also well known as the judge known for having put the Hells Angels kingping, Mom Boucher, behind bars in 2002.

Her ability to take those to task in the defense of the public purse and safety has not only earned her celebrity status which only pop-culture stars experience, but it definitely earned her a position of trust in the minds of the public.  She is possibly the most well-known judge in Canada.

As I said earlier, the Commission is not yet over (it is currently in deliberations as it drafts its final reports).  Therefore I have a feeling we will still be seeing France Charbonneau for a while yet.

And as a side note… do not be surprised if we happen to see Charbonneau be offered an opportunity to run for political office which she may find difficult to turn down (Federal 2019?  Provincial 2018?  A by-election?  Liberal, Conservative?)  But that is simply the most speculative of speculation on my part.

The next post will look at a couple more people in the top 20 most trusted figures in Québec.

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