Don Macpherson must need a break--and badly. That's the only explanation I can come up with on the heels of his scurrilous article in Saturday's Montreal Gazette. In "Are Quebecers ready for him?" Macpherson compares Philippe Couillard, Liberal Party leadership aspirant, and André Boisclair, the disgraced former Parti Quebecois leader. Macpherson discusses both men's political positions and draws parallels to their "scandals."
But there is no comparison.
May I remind Gazette readers that Mr. Boisclair's chief of staff, Luc Doray, became the fulcrum of a drug and embezzlement scandal? Mr. Boisclair, a reputed "party animal," according to The Globe and Mail, though never charged with a crime, later admitted he used cocaine while a sitting MNA. Mr. Doray pleaded guilty to defrauding the Quebec government; court testimony revealed that Mr. Boisclair had authorized some of the expenses in question.
Let's compare them a bit more: Mr. Boisclair was first elected to the National Assembly at the ripe old age of 23, and has, to date, spent most of his life in politics, where he served, variously, as minister of citizenship and immigration, social solidarity, and environment. Philippe Couillard, on the other hand, was an eminent neurosurgeon before he became minister of the most challenging of Government of Quebec portfolios, health.
While most of us would say, in reference to something simple, that it wasn't "rocket science" or "brain surgery"--meaning, of course, that both such endeavours are eminently challenging--Philippe Couillard has been known to say, "brain surgery is easy. It's politics that's difficult."
Macpherson's column is Couillard's exhibit A in this regard.
How are we ever to expect people of quality to continue to stand on their hind legs and publicly declare themselves political candidates under the onslaught of articles such as Macpherson's?
André Boisclair disgraced himself by using cocaine for seven years while a Quebec cabinet minister; Philippe Couillard, according to Macpherson, "trails a whiff of scandal" because of his "association with Dr. Arthur Porter."
Let's face it: between Boisclair and Couillard, there is no comparison.
And so, I am moved to inquire of Mr. Macpherson: is every person who shook hands with Arthur Porter (or went into business with him) now to be presumed a criminal? Where is Macpherson's sense of proportion? Where is Macpherson's sense of justice?
Where is Macpherson's editor?
If Macpherson has any evidence of Couillard wrong doing, let him speak now, or forever hold his peace. Because this kind of innuendo is out of place in a newspaper of record that The Montreal Gazette purports to be.
In fact, this column smells so bad, it reminds me of Jan Wong's odious, misbegotten analysis of Quebecers' supposed notions of ethnic and racial purity, part of her--and The Globe and Mail's--original "explanation" for Kimveer Gill's--and Marc Lepine's, and Valery Fabrikant's--murderous rampages.
Are Quebecers ready for Philippe Couillard? Who knows? Certainly, as far as this column makes clear, not Don Macpherson.
I hope le bon docteur Couillard--and the other two candidates, Raymond Bachand and Pierre Moreau--continue their campaigns in all serenity, and that the Liberal membership, of whom I am proud to call myself a member, chooses the best possible person for the tough job of defeating Premier Marois, and soon, before she completes the utter shambolization of our beloved Quebec.
Most of all, I hope Don Macpherson gets to go on that vacay--he sure as hell needs one, in this winter of his discontent. And dyspepsia.