LE JOURNAL DE QUEBEC

In Quebec, 'Hot Mic' Gaffe Reveals What Judge Really Thinks

The truth, the whole truth ... and exactly what he thinks — but should never say out loud.

In Quebec, 'Hot Mic' Gaffe Reveals What Judge Really Thinks
Anne Sophie Goninet

We all know the risks of teleworking and what can happen when someone accidentally forgets to turn off a camera or mute a microphone. Just last week a Canadian member of Parliament was caught naked during a Zoom conference when his laptop camera switched on as he was changing into his work clothes.

Doh!

Turns out the exposed lawmaker isn't the only high-profile Canuck to make a faux pas in the daunting new world of digital workplaces. This week, a Superior Court judge in Joliette, Quebec had an embarrassing "technical incident" of his own, one that would end up costing him the high-stakes bankruptcy case he'd been handling.

As the daily Journal de Québec reports, Judge Michel A. Pinsonnault was presiding over the $1.7 million case when, on April 20, he was heard saying during videoconference proceedings: "They lie, they lie, they lie."

The far-too-candid comments were in reference to a pair of witnesses who are under investigation for alleged fraud in a parallel case. The judge had forgotten, it turns out, to mute his microphone during his lunch break.

So much for impartiality.

A lawyer for the witnesses told the newspaper that it was "quite a deep shock" for his clients, especially since it was only the second day of the hearings.

The embarrassed judge said his microphone was left on without his knowledge because of a "malfunction." He then apologized for his "unfortunate comments' and recused himself from the case, which is being delayed pending Judge Pinsonnault's replacement by another magistrate.

Keep up with the world. Break out of the bubble.
Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
Green

In Argentina, A Visit To World's Highest Solar Energy Park

With loans and solar panels from China, the massive solar park has been opened a year and is already powering the surrounding areas. Now the Chinese supplier is pushing for an expansion.

960,000 solar panels have been installed at the Cauchari park

Silvia Naishtat

CAUCHARI — Driving across the border with Chile into the northwest Argentine department of Susques, you may spot what looks like a black mass in the distance. Arriving at a 4,000-meter altitude in the municipality of Cauchari, what comes into view instead is an assembly of 960,000 solar panels. It is the world's highest photovoltaic (PV) park, which is also the second biggest solar energy facility in Latin America, after Mexico's Aguascalientes plant.

Spread over 800 hectares in an arid landscape, the Cauchari park has been operating for a year, and has so far turned sunshine into 315 megawatts of electricity, enough to power the local provincial capital of Jujuy through the national grid.


It has also generated some $50 million for the province, which Governor Gerardo Morales has allocated to building 239 schools.

Abundant sunshine, low temperatures

The physicist Martín Albornoz says Cauchari, which means "link to the sun," is exposed to the best solar radiation anywhere. The area has 260 days of sunshine, with no smog and relatively low temperatures, which helps keep the panels in optimal conditions.

Its construction began with a loan of more than $331 million from China's Eximbank, which allowed the purchase of panels made in Shanghai. They arrived in Buenos Aires in 2,500 containers and were later trucked a considerable distance to the site in Cauchari . This was a titanic project that required 1,200 builders and 10-ton cranes, but will save some 780,000 tons of CO2 emissions a year.

It is now run by 60 technicians. Its panels, with a 25-year guarantee, follow the sun's path and are cleaned twice a year. The plant is expected to have a service life of 40 years. Its choice of location was based on power lines traced in the 1990s to export power to Chile, now fed by the park.

Chinese engineers working in an office at the Cauchari park

Xinhua/ZUMA

Chinese want to expand

The plant belongs to the public-sector firm Jemse (Jujuy Energía y Minería), created in 2011 by the province's then governor Eduardo Fellner. Jemse's president, Felipe Albornoz, says that once Chinese credits are repaid in 20 years, Cauchari will earn the province $600 million.

The Argentine Energy ministry must now decide on the park's proposed expansion. The Chinese would pay in $200 million, which will help install 400,000 additional panels and generate enough power for the entire province of Jujuy.

The park's CEO, Guillermo Hoerth, observes that state policies are key to turning Jujuy into a green province. "We must change the production model. The world is rapidly cutting fossil fuel emissions. This is a great opportunity," Hoerth says.

The province's energy chief, Mario Pizarro, says in turn that Susques and three other provincial districts are already self-sufficient with clean energy, and three other districts would soon follow.

Keep up with the world. Break out of the bubble.
Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS
MOST READ