Those clever buggers at the Ottawa Citizen are pretty sharp at knowing which stories to give free access to and which ones to put their little key symbol next to.

Turning strip club into university earns Ducharme an award

Ex-Hull mayor joins diplomat, elections boss as recipient of highest Mexican decoration

The former mayor of Hull, and later Gatineau, has been inducted into a major Mexican order for turning a strip club into a university. [link]

A bit of web searching has turned up an award speech. My French is weak, so I'm not exactly sure where it talks about the Strip Club, but I think it must be the espace plus confortablement they call the Maison des Citoyens.

Il a également logé les fondateurs de l'école représentant l'Extension de l'UNAM au Canada, l'UNAM-ESECA, leur offrant tout d'abord un petit espace dans les installations de la Société pour le Développement Économique de l'Outaouais, puis il a généreusement offert un autre espace, ce qui nous a permis de travailler plus confortablement car les deux espaces se trouvent dans la Maison du Citoyen.


coyote said...

Yup. Same brain trust that moved the TV Times to Sunday "to serve readers better" then shortly thereafter jacked Sunday papers to a buck and a half, thinking we were too dumb to notice. Jerkasses. One more reason to buy the Glum & Bale, even if it has no TV supplement.

The Chair said...

Here's the piece from the Petfinder

The former mayor of Hull, and later Gatineau, has been inducted into a major Mexican order for turning a strip club into a university.

Yves Ducharme has received the Mexican Order of the Aguila Azteca, the most important decoration Mexico can present to foreign citizens, for his efforts to promote Mexico-Canada relations.

Mexican Ambassador Maria Teresa Garcia de Madero presented the award -- which means Aztec eagle -- to Mr. Ducharme, Canadian diplomat Marc Lortie and Jean-Pierre Kingsley, director of Elections Canada, at the Rideau Club on Thursday.

Mr. Ducharme helped the Universite Nationale Autonome du Mexique to establish its Gatineau campus on Promenade du Portage in 1996 on the site of the former Lido strip club, which closed in 1994.

This site wasn't always a place politicians wanted to brag about. The club made federal officials blush in 1989 when the public learned how the Federal Business Development Bank had provided a $1-million mortgage for the club, and only later realized the club was an "inappropriate enterprise."

This was only part of the $3.1 million the bank lent to 11 similar clubs in a flurry of risque business nicknamed the G-string Scandal.

It caused all manner of trouble for then-industry minister Harvie Andre, who portrayed the Lido loan as an isolated mistake by a couple of low-level bankers, and then had to take it all back.

After the former city of Hull cleaned up its bar strip during the 1990s, municipal officials were anxious to attract quieter, more conventionally respectable institutions.

Today, the site couldn't be more appropriate.

Established in 1553, the Mexican university is the oldest in North America. It offers English and French courses to about 200 Mexican teachers each summer, Spanish classes and courses in Mexican history and culture to 800 Canadians.

Mr. Ducharme said yesterday he was delighted to receive the honour for promoting better relations with Mexico.

"This is about all the work I have done for Mexico during the last 10 years," Mr. Ducharme said. "The university told me they were looking for a spot in Canada when I was visiting San Antonio, Texas, where they have a campus. They decided to buy the old strip joint that was owned by the Business Development Bank after the Lido went bust.

"They were going to all major cities across Canada. I told them I didn't have the financial resources of Vancouver or Calgary, but would support them like nobody else would. Now they have a beautiful building on Promenade du Portage."

Mrs. Garcia de Madero said Mr. Ducharme is a notable friend of Mexico's largest university. From the beginning, she said, he saw the advantages of opening a campus in Canada's capital region.

Elections Canada director Jean-Pierre Kingsley was honoured for his work as an observer of Mexico's presidential elections in 2000 and 2006.

Canadian diplomat Marc Lortie received the award for his support of Mexico as a NAFTA partner and continued links between Mexico and Canada