Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The ADQ Self-Destructs

Gilles Taillon, leader of the Action démocratique du Québec, has announced he will be stepping down as leader. This is only the latest in a series of missteps and mistakes that have brought the once fledgling provincial party to the brink of destruction.

A brief run down. In 2007, Mario Dumont's ADQ won 41 seats and became the official opposition, only a handful of MNAs away from forming government. Over the next year, Dumont mishandled several issues and the inexperience of his new MNAs became clear. In the 2008 election, the party dropped to 16% and 7 seats, and Mario Dumont announced he would be stepping down as leader.

A leadership race was then called, with Gilles Taillon (who did not win in his riding) and Éric Caire (who did) becoming the clear front-runners. The leadership race was ugly, with each side seemingly forgetting that they'd have to work together if either of them had won.

Gilles Taillon then won the race, which was held only a few weeks ago, by two votes. The turnout of the telephone voting was very low, and in the end it was learned that Infoman (a Quebec comedian) had gotten an ADQ membership under the name of Omar Bongo and cast his vote for Taillon. That brought his true win down to one vote.

Then, after being snubbed by Taillon, Caire and his friend Marc Picard left the party to sit as independents in the National Assembly. That brought the ADQ caucus from 6 to 4 MNAs. A few days later, the president of the party (responsible for the non-partisan running of the leadership race) stepped down when it was learned he had donated to Taillon's leadership campaign.

To add insult to injury, Janvier Grondin, long-time ADQ MNA and 11th-hour supporter of Taillon, as come out to say that he regrets having thrown his support behind Taillon.

Now, Taillon has stepped down as leader, seemingly at the request of his caucus. The leadership race divided the party in two, and now the half that supported Taillon is divided as well. He has said he will stay on as leader until a new one is found, but that poses a few problems. The party can't afford a leadership race, and Caire has said he wouldn't run to lead the party. There are few potential replacements, and the most likely replacement, MNA Gerard Deltell, has been making nice with the provincial Liberals and even attended an event with Jean Charest.

Lastly, Taillon threw out the bombshell that he has found irregularities in the party's finances dating back to 2003, which he will look into. The Liberals and PQ are starting to circle the two new independents and the 4 ADQ MNAs to see if they won't come over to their sides. Recent polls put the party at around 6% to 8%, tied with the Parti Vert and Quebec Solidaire.

The Conservatives were smart enough to jump ship not too long ago, and have since reconciled with the provincial Liberals under Charest. This is good news for them, as had Harper tied his Quebec star too tightly to Mario Dumont and the ADQ, he wouldn't have won the Bas-St-Laurent by-election last night.


  1. what is also funny is that the 2 who left caucus "because they felt the new leader did not represent them because he was not rightwing enough" was shorlty after the new leader denied the 2 of them the jobs (and extra pay) of legislative leader and house leader.

    Then they took the principled stand of offering up the possibility of running for the Liberal or PQ in the next election.

  2. I read somewhere that Caire declined the offers from Taillon, but I do not know if that is true or not.

  3. I wish we had made the trade, Dumont for Bernier people were talking about.

    By the way, I find it amazing that the media are always hyping Charest for next leader after Harper, even saying that Mulroney's people support it. It would NEVER happen.

  4. The old guard Reformers would never accept Charest as leader. As long as the CPC remains, fundamentally, the Reform Party (which is really all it is, just with two name changes since), those Red Tories don't really have a place in it.

  5. I can't say I'm not surprised. The ADQ was quite literally built on Mario Dumont, and once his star stopped shining, the ADQ stopped being relevant.

    What is interesting though is what exactly may take its place. The ADQ does fill an ideoligical gap that the PLQ only fills a part of - those small-c conservatives need and want a home, and the Liberals can't provide it forever.

  6. Volkov,

    I think a lot of the ADQ people used to be PQ sorts until the party moved left. Its interesting to note the year the ADQ had their big breakthrough was when the PQ were running with a leader who had a colourful past.

    Recently Charest seems to have co-opted the right voters and is making nice with Harper's people (maybe because he knows he can't continue to blow Harper's chances by complaining about the fiscal imbalance or arts right in the middle of an election and ever expect the party to welcome him in the future.)

    But make no mistake, if Harper can get his majority soon all bets are off. Charest can finally be thrown under the bus, the truce with McGuinty can be called off, and the CBC can get sold to Rupert Murdoch!

  7. The PQ, even under Lévesque, has always been centre-left.

  8. Eric,

    That's a pretty broad statement. You're saying there has been no ideological shift ever ? Between any of the party leaders? Perhaps you will grant me that there has been greater emphasis on the "centre" or the "left" part of the center-left coalition at various times.

    It seems to me that there were a lot of former PC guys joining the seperatist cause in the 90's. The ADQ seems like a good fit for them, with their "nationalist" stance and fiscal conservatism.

    Anyways, the ADQ seems pretty dead for now. Why on earth they chose an old guy as party leader is beyond me. When its time to rebuild you want a young hot shot with energy. When its time to govern then the old hands are appropriate.

  9. In retrospect, Caire could have been that leader.

    Who knows, though. Taillon loyalists might have left the party too if Caire had won.

  10. odd things in Quebec today... a provincial liberal MNA (Jean D'Amour). who is also party president left caucus today.

    "D'Amour says he was handed $500 in a brown envelope in 2007 from a contractor, and he says it was destined for another municipal politician.

    But D'Amour said he returned the money and that's why he only reported the incident more than two years after it happened."

    Only reported (and stepped down for the investigation) 2 years after it happened?

  11. I think you got that by election's name wrong. It's actually Montmagny-L'Islet-Kamouraska-Riviere De Loup.

  12. The riding is in the Bas-St-Laurent. It's a region of Quebec.

  13. The new Ekos is out. Tories down another point and NDP up half a point.



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