The three-candidate circus

Gong Show

Short of culminating in a Three Stooges-esque slap fight at the final candidates’ debate, I don’t know if the ADQ leadership race could get any more ridiculous. And the way things are going, I’d be reluctant to rule anything out.

Today brings word that Gilles Taillon, the party’s no. 2 and the frontrunner in the race, is seriously considering dropping out, leaving only Larry and Curly to duke it out for the party’s top job. (For the record, Taillon says he would be quitting for health reasons and not because the race is embarrassing. Either reason would have been acceptable.)

If Taillon does quit, he’ll be leaving behind…

  • A party’s that’s torn over whether or not it matters that Éric Caire, Taillon’s main rival for leader’s job, lied about having a university degree. Caire’s CV listed a bachelor’s degree in communications from Laval University among his academic accomplishments but, as it turns out, he never graduated. When Caire begged for a bit of clemency from Taillon, Taillon responded by calling for Caire to release his transcript, presumably so everyone could laugh at Caire’s grades. (I’m probably projecting here—that’s what would happen if my transcript came out.)
  • A party whose third candidate for the leadership, Christian Lévesque, admits he collected signatures for a potential rival, Jean-François Plante, in exchange for Plante’s promise not to behave like boor when people might be paying attention (i.e., at the candidates’ debate). Plante, you’ll recall, was the party’s nominee in Deux-Montagnes in the last election, but he got the boot over his none-too-kosher arguments against the commemoration of the Polytechnique massacre.
  • A party that ended up rejecting Plante’s bid for the leader’s job because he couldn’t get a measly 1,000 people to sign his nomination papers. Plante has since hinted he might retaliate by suing the party.
  • A party that just might become vulnerable to the same anti-referendum backlash that’s marginalized the PQ since… well, since the last referendum. Lévesque recently said that, as premier, he wouldn’t rule out a referendum if negotiations with Ottawa over provincial jurisdictions were to break down.

And to think, just two short years ago, these guys were the official opposition in Quebec and their leader was the province’s “premier-in-waiting.”