MONTREAL - The "death" of Margaret Thatcher, the prominent ex-prime minister of Great Britain, was wrongly reported online Wednesday by a most unlikely source.
That's right: the former Quebec provincial party leader turned talk-show host erroneously announced the death of the famed Iron Lady.
He committed the gaffe on Twitter. After realizing that he had created a furor in French-language cyberspace, and that the report wasn't true, Dumont apologized.
He said he'd been suckered by a fake Twitter account, one of many spoof accounts ascribed to outgoing French first lady Carla Bruni. That false death announcement, on the false Carla Bruni page, might have set off some warning bells: it misspelled Thatcher's first name as, "Margareth."
Dumont later informed followers of his mistake.
"The news about Ms. Thatcher — not a reliable source," Dumont tweeted.
"News came from a fake Carla Bruni account. Sorry."
Dumont didn't just get grief over the false report. He also raised the ire of some for the way he worded it.
The former Action democratique du Quebec leader had described Thatcher as a rare woman of vision and decisiveness. Some people took offence to the remark, saying they interpreted that as an unintended slight to women.
"R.I.P. Margaret Thatcher, a woman of vision and decisiveness. A rarity," Dumont had originally tweeted.
Dumont was leader of the ADQ from 1994 to 2009 and came within a whisker of becoming premier in 2007. After the next election went badly, he stepped down and switched to a career as a talk-show personality on a Montreal TV station.
For her part, Margaret Thatcher was elected three times and was the longest-serving British prime minister of the 20th century. She is 86.