Saturday, March 16, 2013

Muzzled Archivists and Crooked Politicians

I read yesterday that our Prime Minister is muzzling government archivists and librarians, or at least saying the information they have is 'sensitive.' (Canada's federal librarians fear being muzzled)

Odd, librarians are usually people you hire TO GET THE WORD OUT, especially in schools.  Most kids would rather be sleeping on a bed of needles than sitting in a library or archive and the Internet makes these venerable institutions 'old fashioned' if not defunct.

Even though I have finished my story Milk and Water, about Montreal in 1927, I am still interested in reading the Complete Coderre Report  from 1925, where my grandfather, Jules Crepeau, gets smeared.

The BANQ library claims to have a copy but I visited them last year and the librarian claimed it wasn't there.

The other day, I checked out the National Archive in Ottawa and they are supposed to have a 27 page pamphlet published in 1926, so I ordered  it but it is in limbo, for some reason and won't be available for two years.

My last hope is the Montreal City Archive, and although I thought I had seen it there, I can't find it. Indeed, the librarian at the National Archives did a search and said she can't find it anywhere.

All I can do is look over the reports in the Montreal Herald. That newspaper hated City Hall and might have more in the reports than the Gazette.

The Coderre Report made international news in 1926. Here's a summary by Reuters.

It's all odd, because the testimony against my grandfather, saying he forced policemen (and the Chief of Police) to turn the other way when Movie Theatres were allowing in under age patrons without a guardian, was never repeated in 1927, at the Inquiry into the Laurier Palace Fire. And Mayor Camillien Houde never brought it up when he forced my grandfather to retire in 1930.

And the testimony of one Constable Trudeau, who warned 'There is going to be a catastrophe one day.  Many children will be killed" never got repeated either.

Constable Trudeau was fired (by my grandfather, it is said) shortly after he gave this testimony. It was mentioned in Coderre's Report.  He was fired for having bribed his superior officer about getting his brother in law a liquor license, which was likely just the way things were done back then. (And today, it seems.)

He must have been mad. Mad enough to?????

Jules' obit, 1937. He died of complications of a auto accident. He had been run over a year before my an off duty Montreal Police Officer.

The officer was 'very sorry' my own mother said, but other relations suspect it was a hit.

My grandfather was receiving a HUGE life time pension at the time. He had negotiated it with Mayor Houde in 1930. The City Hall did not want to give it to him (a law in Quebec had to be changed) but he fought it in court and won.

He won shortly after he threatened to run for Alderman in St. Laurent.  Now that would have messed up Houde's people. My grandfather knew more about how City Hall ran than all of them put together.