Le Devoir’s young political reporter, recently departed from Ottawa (no fool he) to ply his trade back home in Montreal, turns in easily the best tick-tock of the events leading up to Denis Coderre’s unfortunate televised auto da fé of the other day. This sort of access reporting is obviously open to the obvious caveats — how do we know who his sources were? But couldn’t some of them be (gasp) (hand across brow) self-interested? — but it builds a plausible case that this entire business began as a simple case of crossed wires.
And the hero of the morality play is party president Alfred Apps, who went on his own initiative to Montreal in June to sound out Martin Cauchon as a possible candidate. Cauchon, who is lunching with the President of the Liberal Party of Canada and the man who helped recruit Michael Ignatieff into Canadian politics in the first place, believes himself to be the object of a serious, high-level recruitment initiative. Which, to his eventual woe, he takes seriously. Apps notifies neither his leader nor the party’s Quebec election apparatus of Cauchon’s summer-long ruminations because he doesn’t think he’s made any formal offer. The Quebec election apparatus, Denis Coderre, Esq., prop., recruits a candidate for Outremont, believing as one usually does that Outremont will need a candidate. Enter Nathalie Le Prohon, duly-recruited candidate. Almost simultaneously, Cauchon accepts the offer he believes he was given from the party president. Hijinx ensue.
This sort of reported insider narrative is about 90 light-years removed from the kind of journalism (zzzzzzz) Le Devoir practiced for most of its history. I wonder whether they’ll be debating the déontologie of it all at the next FPJQ meeting. Ah well; it’s a ripping good yarn.