The former Governor General of the province of Quebec is sentenced to 18 months of prison time. The 76 year old wheel chair bound former representative of the Queen was convicted of spending and claiming over $700,000 in expenses for personal use.
She’s quoted of saying to the judge “Since my youth, I’ve always helped everyone. … I can’t imagine that my grandchildren will have a memory of their grandmother being treated like a thief,”
When charges were first laid in 2009 her defense team tried to throw the case out. The reason was based on grounds her role entitled her to “sovereign immunity” which applies to the Queen and the “Queen can do no wrong.”
It had to go all the way up to the Supreme Court for it to be cast aside and have her face the courts. If you’re only defense is “I am above the law” when that fails expect the response to be severe.
I want to feel bad for this lady who as a teenager was forced into a wheelchair in her teens after a toboggan accident. Then I remember she spent over $700,000 – for me to have access to that amount of money I need to work for over 15 years when you factor in income tax. With $700,000 dollars I could have bought and paid for a house, plus a cottage. It takes a lifetime for folks to pay that off.
People should want to avoid jail but studies show that most folks who end up in a prison do not think of the repercussions when they committed the crime. She should know better, she has three honorary doctorates in Law; Doctor of Laws from Anna Maria College and Concordia University, and a Doctor of Civil Law from Bishop’s University. I am also a firm believer of Alternatives to Incarceration. Punishment should fit the crime but it should also be designed to support the damaged community and be an example of a positive contribution.
So what can a wheel chair bound 76 year old lady going to do for the community? The Honorable Lise Thibault suffered a stroke in February of 2005 after serving as Lieutenant-Governor of Quebec since 1997. She left office two years later in June of 2007.
She was a former adult educator, host on CBC, vice-presedent of for Quebec's Commission de la santé et de la sécurité du travail, before taking on the position of CEO and President of the Office des personnes handicapées du Québec.
What can she do for the community? Outside of serving as a large example for those who think power will make them immune to prosecution. She’s already being cared for by the people through health care. So prison is not big change in cost to the taxpayer. We could take away her Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) putting her out on the street until the government recoups the losses. Yet I feel that all of these ideas are limited.
I hope someone smarter than me can come up with an alternative solution for the Honorable Lise Thibault that would benefit the community. She has little to give back outside of letting folks know that for 18 months, a year and a half, she will live in discomfort when she should be living out her years fully in peace surrounded by her family and friends, basking in the fruits of her lifetime of efforts. It seems we have little else to reclaim from this former provincial leader.
In the end the Queen should start with taking away her title "Honarable". She's proven to have lost that privilage. The rest is up for the smart folks to ponder and solver and the communities of Quebec to implement.