That’s an actual quote from the campaign for the Oct. 1 Quebec general election, from a spokesman for the party that was most likely to form the next government. And this was after Labour Day, when the campaign was supposed to get serious.
The spokesman for the Coalition Avenir Québec party was attempting, as partisans do, to defend the indefensible. In this case, it was the CAQ candidacy of Stéphane Laroche, who was the favourite to be the next member of the National Assembly for Saint-Jean riding south of Montreal.
Laroche was another of the “economic” candidates that the CAQ collects the way Marc Bergevin obsessively turns over the bottom half of the Montreal Canadiens roster. That is, Laroche was until recently the owner of a sports bar, which, it was revealed this week, had several run-ins with authorities for serving minors, who were encouraged to play drinking games, and paying female employees less than their male counterparts.
And then there’s the dwarf: In past years, the bar celebrated the Quebec holiday formerly known as Saint-Jean-Baptiste day with a “Nain-Jean-Baptiste” promotion, featuring a dwarf (“nain” in French) as master of ceremonies.
The CAQ’s bid for the dwarf vote was short-lived, however, no pun intended. Within hours of its spokesman’s valiant attempt to defend its candidate as a man of the little people — literally — the used-candidate salesman who leads the party, Smiling Frank Legault, dropped Laroche like yesterday’s CAQ promise.
So, Laroche became another of the record number of candidates in this election who have had to withdraw when their pasts caught up with them. It seems the parties have been much better at doing background checks on their adversaries’ nominees than on their own.
The candidates’ parade of shame has helped make this the dumbest Quebec election campaign ever.