The Outremont Headache Returns
Martin Cauchon, the former justice minister who made history with same-sex marriage and his effort to decriminalize marijuana, has apparently lost in his bid to re-enter politics.
The Liberal Party is expected to run a prominent businesswoman in Montreal's Outremont riding, a onetime Liberal fortress Mr. Cauchon once held for 11 years.
Leader Michael Ignatieff announced Monday that the nod will go to a woman, amid reports the party is courting Nathalie Le Prohon. She was the president of Nokia Canada and has been a senior executive at IBM and Hydro-Quebec.
Mr. Ignatieff said he had already discussed his choice with Mr. Cauchon.
“I made a decision,” the Liberal Leader told a Toronto news conference.
If you haven't been following this story, the scuttlebutt is that this is merely the extension of a decade long Coderre versus Cauchon feud - Cauchon wants back into politics and Ignatieff's Quebec lieutenant Denis Coderre doesn't want him back.
Now, frequent readers will know I like Martin Cauchon a lot more than Denis Coderre. Always have. But, even when I put that aside and shuffle the names around, I can't help but take Cauchon's position here.
Let's say it's 2007 and both Justin Trudeau and Pierre Pettigrew are making noise about a run in Papineau. Well, even though I'd rather see the star newcomer get the nod over the riding's former MP, I certainly couldn't argue against an open nomination.
Now let's say my buddy Jean Lapierre decided to make a comeback and wanted to fight for the nomination in Outremont (in this scenario, let's assume he's going for the Liberal nomination) - well, good on him.
And that's all Cauchon is asking for here. An open nomination battle.
I can see the benefits in appointing star candidates. And I recognize the need to have more female candidates running in winnable ridings. But it seems obvious this isn't about either of those things - this is nothing but a Quebec turf war (in the Liberal Party? GASP!). And that's the type of thing this party really needs to move beyond.
So whether you're a Coderre man or a Cauchon man, it's hard to argue against Outremont going to an open nomination. Quite simply, Ignatieff made the wrong call here and I hope he reconsiders his decision.